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Atu Qtpiov tivai 17? yv&pfl rov fie\\ovra (f)t\o<j'o<j>i'iv 

An open mind is the gate-way to philosophy. 











THE present book is concerned with a 
field of knowledge which is not much 
cultivated in Germany, but which has 
for a number of years been academically recog- 
nized by the English-speaking and the Latin 
races. At the publisher's request it is addressed 
to the general public, including therein such of 
my colleagues as have not been more closely 
concerned with the subjects dealt with. I have 
tried to describe from a non-partisan p^int of 
view the scientific position as it seems to me to 
exist. That this position is as yet far from clear 
in many respects will be obvious as I proceed. 
But it follows that it is obvious that we have to 
do to a considerable extent with a new field of 
knowledge which is not yet ripe, and which 
German science is called upon to join in culti- 
vating, so that at last certainty may be reached 
as to what is actually true and the proper 
philosophical consequences deduced therefrom. 

Stptemhr, 1920 


^ AHIS book, the first edition of which was 
JL exhausted in six months, has accomplished 
what I hoped it would, and directed the 
interest of persons capable of scientific thought 
to the problems of parapsychology. At last there 
is movement in many places, though it need 
hardly be said that in many others dogmatic 
slumber still prevails. The reception of the 
book by the general public also goes to prove 
that we live in a time of mental freedom, 
which ia not governed by dogma, and should be 
ready to make a great advance, if it were not 
that the general conditions of life make German 
scientific work nowadays difficult even in this field. 
The theoretical interpretation which I have 
attempted of the facts recorded must for the 
present remain in details hypothetical, and my 
meaning would be wholly misunderstood if the 
various lines of thought which I have developed 
were taken to be positive dogmatic conclusion*. 






TION - - - 17 











CIVILIZATION (Kultur), nowadays, is 
undergoing a series of critical transforma- 
tions. We daily witness political changes, 
the gravity and completeness of which surpass 
any events known to history. For the first 
time, all nations are linked up into a causal 
whole, and the world has become one single 
political unit. The international means of ex- 
change enhanced by the increased facilities in 
material and intellectual communication which 
was the result of the nineteenth century 
have brought to an end former conditions under 
which conflicts only broke out between adjoining 

During the world war, nearly all the civilized 
nations, together with f tl^e majority of their 
dependent peoples^ we^e 'drawn into combat. 
All the seas 'and the grjUter- .part of the surface 
of the continent becapi a theatre of war. But 
while the fires of this general conflagration still 
smoulder, a new catastrophe of- international 
character threatens trf overwhelm the globe. 


Russia, which only two years ago showed every 
indication of utter collapse and appeared to have 
dwindled to a mere shadow of itself, has now 
spread civil war and wholesale terrorism through- 
out the rest of the world. 

The downfall of civilization which took place 
in Russia is in danger of engendering universal 
collapse, throwing back the civilized nations in 
particular to more primitive conditions than 
those which characterized ancient history. The 
situation, however, is much more serious to-day 
than when the invasion of the German hordes 
heralded the advent of the middle ages with its 
retarded civilization. For at that period, the 
invading tribes had no definite object in view 
beyond youthful enthusiasm for war, conquest 
and adventure whereas Russian Bolshevism is 
intent on destroying the very framework of 
" Kultur," as well as the structures of society 
an intention carried through with ruthless 
determination wherever Bolshevism takes root. 

But while the foundations of mankind sway 
under the impact of this torrent, and none can 
safely predict whether he may not be engulfed 
by this aftermath of the world war, we visualize 
on the horizon of pure thought phenomena such 
as precede the end of a cosmos. The red flush 
of a setting sun already casts its dying reflection 
over the whole body of knowledge of the modern 
world. All is changed. The scientific work of 


the three last centuries has been proved one- 
sided and incomplete. It originated with the 
study of phenomena of movement in Nature, 
initiated .by Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and 
Newton ; but these were the product of dead 
matter, and formed but part of a system which 
cannot be taken as representing the whole. 

The widening of our intellectual horizon and 
the consideration of other branches of reality 
have already produced far-reaching alterations in 
our mechanical conception of the world. They 
have brought about revolutionary changes in 
theory, even in the realm of dead matter. It is 
enough to mention in proof of this the dissolution 
of the elements and the principle of relativity. 
But far more fundamental are the changes 
wrought in our conception of the universe by 
reason of the introduction of facts from the 
mental and organic worlds. These two sections 
represent independent spheres of study. When 
they are given due weight to in our theories, 
the world of our conception assumes a still 
more changed appearance. 

The advance of the analysis of the life of the 
mind has made clear the essential difference of 
its behaviour from that of matter. All the im- 
portant deductions of modern psychology during 
the last two centuries have but widened the 
breach between psychology and natural science. 
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the 


world lived under the delusion that the principles 
of a fundamental science that of elementary 
mental phenomena had been discovered in 
experimental psychology. It was assumed that 
this science could be used for the study of the 
mental world in the same way that mechanics 
are employed to investigate the conformation of 
inorganic bodies. This strange delusion is over. 
No serious student would now allow that ex- 
perimental psychology, operating within the 
sphere of the science of mind, can even approxi- 
mately be compared to that of mechanics, as 
considered in relation to the natural science. 
All hope of discovering laws of like structure in 
the life of the soul, to those that control the 
domain of mechanics, has remained unfulfilled. 

No lasting factor exists in mental life apart 
from the centre of consciousness to which we 
ascribe all mental acts and conditions whereas 
all the mechanics of natural science presuppose 
the existence and continuity of their elementary 
physical component parts. In the life of the 
soul no law of conservation of energy exists 
similar to that which governs the laws of 
mechanics. Herbart's attempt to establish a 
mechanics of the life of the soul on the assumption 
that perceptions were separate elements con- 
stituting mental matter, has met with no greater 
success when repeated by experimental psychology 
on a more advanced scale. If we wish to make a 


true comparison between the material world and 
the world of mind, we find that the material 
elements do not correspond one by one to 
separate individual moments in the life of the 
mind, but rather that each individual psych 
taken separately as a whole in itself corresponds 
to a separate material element. On the other 
hand, however, while mechanical laws alone 
govern the relationship between the separate 
material elements, all the so-called psychological 
laws are based on the distinctions within the 
individual soul each separate mind being for 
itself a separate mental universe. 

But the state of psychology, together with 
that of the mind itself, becomes further com- 
plicated through the fact that all minds so far 
as we know are in close communication with 
the physical world. Natural science is concerned 
with objects which represent an independent 
sphere of reality (or at least can be treated as 
such). The experiences of the mind are corol- 
laries of events in the material world. We take 
each mind to be allied to a physical organism. 
It gets into touch with the outer world through 
the medium of the senses, and it is only cognizant 
of the existence of other minds through its per- 
ception of foreign bodies connected with these 
other souls. On the other hand, the mind is 
able partly by its own conscious action though 
mainly unconsciously to modify its own or- 


ganism, thus conveying to other minds signs 
of its own existence. The whole of the 
action of the mind, as shown by its effect upon 
the material world, entirely destroys and shatters 
the mechanical conception of the world, which 
believed itself entitled to consider consciousness 
as quite isolated without outward influence of 
any kind upon material things. The theory of 
parallelism was a desperate attempt to establish 
this isolation without admitting the influence of 
consciousness on the physical sphere. 1 

Of an equally fundamental character is the 
upsetting of the mechanical conception of the 
universe which results when we consider the 
construction of organisms which take their 
material from the physical world. Whether 
this process is attributed to the act of God or to 
vital forces of a special kind whether one 
hypostatizes the unconscious functions of the 
individual mind or constructs special laws for 
organic life in every and any case the facts 
cannot be explained unless some new factor is 

Modern psychology and New Biology have 
joined together to uproot the older materialistic 
conception of the world, though they have not 
succeeded in replacing it by any other definition, 
It is but too evident that the development of 
the organic world and the appearance and dis- 

1 Theism does not admit that the Material world represents an 
independent sphere. 


appearance of minds from the ken of our im- 
mediate experience remain wholly unexplained 
and unexplainable. The world of experience 
presents us with the picture of a cosmos, in which 
ever new factors become active, only to vanish 
into nothingness, leaving as little traces of their 
disappearance as of their previous inception. 

If the actual world of experience is to be 
regarded as the whole of Reality, nothing is of 
more frequent occurrence than the creatio ex 
nihilo and its antithesis entire annihilation. 

But the crisis in present-day views of the uni- 
verse has not yet reached its final stage. On the 
contrary, we are confronted with the prospect 
of a much more serious upheaval, which will 
result in a new conception of the universe. A 
still further revolution is once again to widen the 
horizons of thought by bringing into considera- 
tion hitherto unnoted realms of reality. 

There are volcanic signs of disruption under 
the superficial layer of official culture. As a 
matter of fact, conceptions which are in clear 
contradistinction to science have always con- 
tinued to exist. Superstitions of every sort 
have remained ingrained in civilized nations ; 
magic and witchcraft exercise their influence 
as of yore, only to be opposed by the thin veneer 
of education. It is, however, indisputable that 
the situation at present indicates change to no 
inconsiderable degree. 


Mid the lumber of superstition and delusions 
of every sort there are occasional psychic and 
psychophysical phenomena of a peculiar nature 
of their own which has made them the real 
foundation of, or rather the focus round which, 
phantasies formerly eluding scientific research 
have crystallized. They are phenomena of so 
strange a nature, that they are qualified to 
influence in decisive fashion our entire concep- 
tion of the universe, and even of life itself. The 
whole subject is summed up in the word : 
OCCULTISM an unfortunate appellation, for 
it is not only things called " occult " which 
are mysterious. We designate as mysterious 
anything which is not clear to us, and of which 
it is not easy to find the explanation. And as a 
matter of fact very few things are perfectly 
clear ; all the real facts of life have their mys- 
terious side even the simplest and those of daily 
occurrence. We do not know actually why a 
stone falls to the ground, why a pane of glass 
breaks when hit, or how it is that we see when the 
light-rays reach our eyes. And when we ascribe 
these events to a cause as formerly to the pres- 
'sure or shock of the ether-atoms or, as at 
present, to the circulation of electrons round a 
positive nucleus we have again to accept another 
fact, just as inexplicable, in place of the one last 
established. For we do not know why this is so 
why electrons exist and move in this or that 


definite way, producing this or that effect. The 
child is right when it demands an explanation 
for every new fact brought to its notice. We are 
often forced to answer " It is so," and cannot 
help ourselves except by forbidding any further 
questions. In spite of this, the child is right to 
question us. His thirst for information is not yet 
blunted by a continuous repetition of events. 
For, so far as we are concerned, it is nothing less 
than intellectual laziness when we think that all 
that we experience, all that we know, has become 
clear and unenigmatical. The grown-up has 
merely become accustomed to facts and questions 
no longer. Everyday happenings have lost for 
him the sense of the mysterious, the unintelligible. 
It takes something unexpected and new to make 
him desire an explanation. Every great dis- 
covery in the realm of natural science therefore 
fills him with feelings of awe and mystery. 
Among these can be classed the X-rays ; the Hert- 
zian waves ; the radioactive emanations, and 
numerous others. But after a while they all 
enter the category of natural phenomena. The 
same applies to " occult " problems. Only so 
long as telepathy, clairvoyance and materializa- 
tions appear as something out of the ordinary, 
are they surrounded by an aura of mystery. 

Swedenborg, who communicated with the 
spirits as though they were still in the flesh (as 
he believed), found nothing out of the way even 


in this. In the same way the relationship of the 
innumerable automatic writers of the present day 
to the spirits with which they claim to be in 
communication (through the Planchette) is also 
treated by them as quite in the ordinary course 
of things. 

The debated facts of occultism are only 
different from many others in the world because 
of their comparative rarity, but this does not 
mean that they are unique in their nature, for it is 
possible to arrange them in groups or classes. 
They may be compared to works of a creative 
nature in art or science, which also like occult 
facts cannot be produced artificially, but can only 
be observed after they have come into existence. 
The appellation " occultism " is consequently 
extremely inapposite. Despite this, it may be 
accepted provisionally as an accepted designation 
as many other words are accepted, if it is under- 
stood that it does not possess any other signi- 
ficance except the conventional designation of a 
certain definite sphere of problematic matter. 
After all, the actual word used is of no importance. 

In recent times the word " scientific " has 
been added to " occultism," and by this is meant 
scientific research into the problematic realm 
of the facts under discussion. A better and 
more trenchant term is " Parapsychology " 
or also as Richet puts it, " Metapsychology." 
It stands to reason that the most competent 


investigator for the major part of this domain 
should be the psychologist, an assertion beyond 
dispute. With regard to the remaining part of 
the facts to be investigated, the question might 
well be raised as to whether naturalists and 
biologists are not the best investigators ; though 
as one delves deeper into the subject, it becomes 
obvious that this work, too, cannot be accom- 
plished without the psychologist, and that what 
is really required is collaboration. 

What makes Occultism so repellent to the 
professional scientist is the mental milieu in 
which the problematic facts under observation 
are so often presented. The parapsychologic 
problems exercise a peculiarly fascinating 
influence on all half-educated individuals, whose 
inherited conceptions of the universe have been 
uprooted, but who long, nevertheless, for more 
complete knowledge. They are drawn to them 
as moths to the light of arc-lamps. In the case 
of decided hysterical or neuropathological types, 
they soon come to believe that they are in mys- 
terious contact with the transcendental world, 
and they then develop a peculiar spiritual 
fanaticism which makes all discussion with them 
as hopeless as it is unrefreshing. They look 
down on science with ineffable disdain, meet 
every critical objection with instinctive enmity, 
filled as they are with the secret fear that they 
may find themselves to have been mistaken. 


This general mental predisposition tends to 
make them the easy victims of astoundingly 
impudent frauds, I have noticed with amaze- 
ment how women who were both educated and 
intelligent allowed themselves to be duped in 
the most transparent fashion by a woman medium 
at a spiritualistic stance. So crass were the 
means employed, that I could not resist the 
temptation of competing with the medium, and 
in my turn giving an exhibition of the same 
methods, in order to prove the absolute lack of 
critical analysis reached by these women in their 
search for the miraculous. 

But even the individuals under examination 
the mediums are not infrequently of similar 
mental constitution. It is possibly a mistake 
to assume that all mediums are hysterical, 
although many of them are. But, after all, with 
hardly an exception, they take their stand on 
their spiritistic convictions. In dealing with 
them, therefore, tact is required to an unusual 
degree. The psychical researcher has, further- 
more, to adapt himself to strange and often quite 
repellent opinions. This is essential. Mediums 
are extremely sensitive in regard to a sceptical 
attitude towards spiritualism. The experience 
of Flournoy with Helene Smith is a case in point, 
though his book made her famous all over the 
world. Their connection was broken off after 
it had lasted for several years simply because he 


could not commit himself to countenance the 
phenomena she presented by the desired spiritistic 
explanation. I myself have tried in vain to 
maintain my relations with an automatic writer. 
These too came to an abrupt end when I, 
though admitting the fact of automatic writing, 
refused to agree to its spiritistic interpretation. 
But even when the investigator manifests the 
utmost care and caution, he is not immune from 
disillusion and unpleasant surprises. And yet 
despite all this it is impossible any longer to 
refuse to discuss the problems of occultism. 

A large part of the more serious occult litera- 
ture is contributed by authors who have devoted 
themselves exclusively to this domain. We 
approach their work with a natural scepticism 
and reserve, for the absence of any other scientific 
productions on their part deprives us of other 
standards by which to judge the quality of their 
parapsychological investigations or the mental 
value of their occult publications. In some 
cases the impression left on our minds is such that 
we cannot refuse them credence, though in 
others we do not get beyond a nonliquet. The 
more curious and astounding the result of their 
deductions, the more we are inclined to reserve 
our judgment, even in the event of a general 
favourable impression of a given work. 

However, for some time past, parapsychological 
investigations have not been exclusively confined 


to convinced occultists. To-day there is a 
considerable increase in the number of com- 
petent investigators who have proved their 
ability in other departments before turning their 
attention to Occultism. This already started 
in the eighties and nineties of last century. 
Those of the older generation have vivid recol- 
lections of the sensation when the founder of 
Astralphysics, C. F. Zoellner, his friend the 
originator of Psychophysics, G. Th. Fechner, 
and the distinguished English Physicist, Crookes, 
occupied themselves with the mediums Slade 
and Home, all three affirming the reality of 
phenomena hitherto regarded as definitely re- 
futed by all physical experiments. Although 
it was possible to contend successfully against 
Zoellner, Fechner and Crookes, that they placed 
too much faith in their mediums, and did not 
take sufficient precautions against possible decep- 
tion, this contention holds less and less with 
regard to more recent investigators, more 
especially as it has become the rule to keep the 
possibility of fraud well in mind. Formerly 
the whole problem could be waived aside. Zoell- 
ner could be called insane (and also erroneously 
accused of having committed suicide), and Crookes 
met with no better treatment. But is it really 
admissible to accuse every fresh student of being 
half-witted or unscientific, for the simple reason 
that having taken up Occultism, and remaining 


equally competent in his own sphere, he deduces 
certain definite though quite abnormal facts 
from his later study ? Surely the probability 
is greater, that their unanimity expresses the real 
hate of affairs, and that Occultism in conse- 
quence really deals with new facts of a peculiar 

True, we are not dealing with happenings that 
can be observed at any time anywhere. They 
are peculiar to certain persons, to be made use 
of wherever they are to be found. But in 
psychology this situation is not rare. It has 
already been mentioned, that all creative work 
which is of any importance in the history of 
intellectual development has been confined to 
certain individuals only, and in their case even 
has not at all times been in evidence. 

The scepticism brought to bear on such 
subjects in Germany at the present day goes 
much too far. Those familiar with foreign 
literature are forced to the conclusion that it is 
simply based on ignorance of the information 
already available. It is characteristic enough 
that until a few years ago the chief periodical on 
the subject, containing the most important and 
essential work and data, the " Proceedings of 
the Society for Psychical Research," was (so far 
as I know) only procurable at the Munich State 
Library (though now it can also be found in 
the Berlin State Library). We are merely behind 


the times in this respect, and this attitude is a 
reversion to Materialism, and not the only one 
at that. The present state of affairs is more and 
more unworthy of German science, and my 
object in this book is to put an end to it. 

The best and shortest way is to give a summary 
of the results of the examination of several 
contemporary mediums. For that purpose I 
have chosen those who demonstrate the 
phenomena under consideration in a peculiarly 
distinct and clear-cut fashion. These are the 
Swiss medium, Helene Smith ; the American, 
Mrs. Piper ; and the Italian, Eusabia Palladino 
the three most famous mediums of modern 
times. No others have been so thoroughly and 
continuously examined as they, for they remained 
for years in succession under scientific observa- 
tion. Once acquainted with the facts estab- 
lished through their mediumship, we shall be 
in possession of the best proofs by which to judge 
Occultism as a whole. We shall, however, not 
content ourselves with the examination of these 
three special cases, but occupy ourselves either 
in conjunction with them or separately with 
other more recent cases. 



I WILL begin with Helene Smith, a medium 
through whom some forms of parapsychic 

phenomena are demonstrated with particular 
clarity, though many or the most characteristic 
of them are only found occasionally. 

Helene Smith is the pseudonym of a mediumis- 
tically inclined Swiss lady, whose acquaintance 
was made by Th. Flournoy, Professor of Philo- 
sophy at the University of Geneva in the winter 
of 1894. She was then thirty years of age, of 
middle-class origin an employee in a business- 
house in Geneva, where, thanks to her intelli- 
gence, her position improved gradually. At the 
age of 14 her first abnormal experiences began. 
They took the form of nocturnal apparitions. 
Later on, new phenomena manifested themselves ; 
and finally, after she had joined spiritistic circles 
in 1892, and had herself become one of their 
disciples, she developed into a regular medium, 
experiencing while awake phenomena previously 
only experienced by her at night. Thus, in her 
writing, written characters differing from her 

a 17 


own began to appear here and there. To these 
were added, later, acoustic phenomena and 
rapping. Finally the somnambulistic dream 
stage was attained. These conditions recurred 
with increasing frequency, thus rendering 
Helene Smith one of the most remarkable 
subjects for analytic observation in connection 
with the so-called " Phenomena of Impersona- 
tion " the modern form of " Possession." At 
such times her mind seemed to leave her body 
altogether, and to be replaced by another. So 
at least it appeared. 

For five years, 18941898, Flournoy was 
able to observe her in the course of innumerable 
stances, during which period she derived no 
material benefit from the proceedings, and 
received no pecuniary remuneration in her 
capacity of medium. Nor were the greater 
part of her performances of a character to invite 
deception. She laid no claim to prophecy, nor 
did she excel in the usual telepathic or param- 
nestic performances to say nothing of giving 
any special demonstrations in the way of physical 

Inspirational phenomena predominated. These 
were shown with the greatest ease and abun- 
dance, and there is no other medium, through 
whom under equally close observation such 
phenomena were obtained with greater fre- 


The spirits which apparently declared them- 
selves through Helne Smith fall into two 
categories historical and non-historical person- 
ages ; or, rather, in order to avoid any precon- 
ceived theory, those with which it is possible 
to connect a prototype in history, and those with 
which it is not. The former are confined to a 
few cases, such as Victor Hugo, Leopold Cag- 
liostro, the famous magician of the eighteenth 
century, and Marie Antoinette. The latter is 
infinitely the richer group. These spirits did not 
all declare themselves through Helene Smith 
at the same time. On the contrary ; her medial 
life may be divided into varying periods, or, more 
correctly speaking, cycles. Victor Hugo was 
the first to appear. His impersonation lasted 
five months, and then gradually diminished. 
His place was increasingly taken by Leopold 
Cagliostro, of whom a visual apparition proceeded 
the actual impersonation. As a matter of fact, 
it should be noted that in the case of Helene 
Smith there existed in general some peculiar 
connexion between visual and inspirational pheno- 
mena which has still to be explained in detail. 
From now onwards, Cagliostro became Helene 
Smith's actual " control." He appears to have 
been present according to the observations 
made by Flournoy throughout her entire 
further development. The impression received 
Is that he never leaves her he is conversant with 


her whole life. His conversation and writing, 
including the orthography, appear to date from 
the eighteenth century, and his physiognomy 
bears distinct resemblance to a historical portrait 
of Cagliostro. We have here a case where the 
physiognomy of the medium is subjected to 
considerable changes during the state of trance, 
taking on a resemblance to the features of the 
spirit which may happen to appear to be in 
control of the medium a very telling proof of 
the magnitude of the transformation in the 
mind of the medium while in a state of impersona- 
tion. All her impersonations have this charac- 
teristic. Flournoy describes again and again the 
ineffable art with which Helene Smith portrays 
the character of the moment. 

" Helene should be seen when the ' royal ' trance is full and 
complete : grace, elegance, distinction, at times majesty in pose 
and gesture the actual demeanour of a queen. The most subtle 
shades of expression charming amiability, queenly condescension 
indifference and withering contempt, are shown in rapid succes- 
sion on her countenance and bearing as the defile* of her courtiers 
pass before her in her dream. The play of her hands with a real 
handkerchief and fictitious appurtenances fan, lorgnette, smelling- 
salts with a screw-top in a little bag attached to her girdle her 
curtseys, her movements full of careless grace, as she never omits 
to throw back her imaginary train at every step every thing, every 
smallest detail is perfectly and naturally worked out. 

Seen under these conditions, she must impress 
us as a finished actress, except that, in contra- 
distinction to the real artist, she is entirely 
merged in her role, and retains no consciousness 


of her own real personality. On the other hand, 
however, these conditions cannot be accepted 
as proof of the conclusion that real impersona- 
tion through the spirits which have passed over 
actually exists. 

" Possession," by Leopold Cagliostro, betrayed 
certain imperfections only too clearly. Helene 
Smith has no knowledge of Italian, neither had 
her Leopold ! Moreover, comparison of the 
two handwritings proved that there was no 
resemblance between that of the pseudo-Cag- 
liostro and the real one ; but that it was simply 
and solely the distorted handwriting of Helene 

It is not different with the impersonation of 
Marie Antoinette. The old-fashioned ortho- 
graphy and handwriting are also shown in this 
case, but so are the same defects. The real 
handwriting of the French Queen was different, 
and her accent was German and not English. 
It is equally significant that Helene Smith's 
Marie Antoinette should use such modern words 
as tramway and photography, of which the 
historical queen could not have heard. These 
circumstances prove that there can be no question 
of actual " possession," however finished the 
imitation of strange personalities may otherwise 
be. To this must be added the fact that there 
are stages of transition between Helene Smith 
and those ostensibly impersonated. At certain 


moments Helene Smith feels herself becoming 
Cagliostro. Her own normal existence is mergec 
in that of the foreign personality which at that 
moment begins to live and stir within her mind 
and consciousness. She feels herself at one and 
the same time to be Helene Smith and Cagliostro ; 
just as the poet, in moments of inspiration, may 
feel himself at one with the creatures of his 
brain. This would seem impossible, had the real 
Cagliostro taken possession of Helene Smith's 
organism. Still more convincing proof of the 
non-identity of these personages presumably 
impersonated in Helene Smith's trances is the 
occasional appearance of characters from novels 
which she had read. They too lay claim to be 
taken seriously. 

In the cases quoted so far, we have only been 
concerned with copies of characters which Helene 
Smith had met in fiction or in historical tradition. 
But her imagination was capable of far greater 
flights. Whole cycles of fictitious persons and 
situations were evolved by her. They all bear 
an exotic stamp, headed by an Indian cycle. 
Just as the impersonation of Leopold was preceded 
by his apparition, so did the Indian cycle begin 
with the visions of Indian landscapes, and was 
followed by Helene Smith's impersonation of 
visionary Indian figures apparently semi- 
historical personalities of the fourteenth century. 
From now on impersonations and visions began 


to intermingle in odd fashion. At the very 
moment that Helene Smith is metamorphosized 
into an Indian woman, she visualizes a little 
monkey in hallucination and plays with it. 

The Mars-cycle is still more imaginative. 
Here, too, there was an intermingling of visions 
and impersonations. Helene Smith " acts " the 
inhabitants of Mars, and at the same time 
visualizes the imagined countryside, houses, 
plants, etc., of Mars. This cycle is further 
characterized by the introduction of a " Mar- 
tian " language. The Martians impersonated 
speak no language known on earth only Martian ; 
and their written characters differ entirely 
from any " earthly " alphabet. Flournoy has 
examined both languages and script most min- 
utely. The very melodious speech vowel sounds 
being estimated at seventy-three per cent 
and e's and i's preponderating was proved by 
him to be a thoroughly grammatically-grounded 
language ; but no independent tongue, merely 
a somewhat transformed French. The language 
was a specious production, constructed and used 
with amazing skill, but nevertheless a faked 
transformation of a European tongue; in fact, 
no new independent language. It was really 
wonderful how Helene Smith used this speech, 
which was evidently invented by her, with no 
opportunity of practising it out of her trances. 
It is as remarkable as if some one read through a 


foreign grammar, and forthwith began to speak 
in that language. This is the only comparison 
which can be made to Helene's power of using 
the newly invented script and of writing it 
fluently. Invention and mastery followed close 
upon one another, to the apparent exclusion of 
the usual practice necessary under normal 

Her abnormal memory and facility of repro- 
duction when in a trance has been established 
through two other facts. One day Helene 
Smith wrote in entirely unknown characters. 
Investigation proved these to be Arabian letters, 
and after further observation they were recog- 
nized as copied from a dedication, which a Geneva 
physician had written several years previously in 
his book, " En Cabylie." It was at least six 
years since Helene had seen that particular 
volume. Characteristically enough, these were 
the only Arabian letters ever traced by her hand. 
The second proof of her trance hypermnesie is 
demonstrated by her use of several genuine 
Sanscrit words when presumably speaking " Sans- 
crit " in her trance. Closer investigation dis- 
closed the fact that she had formerly held 
spiritualistic stances at the house of a person who 
dabbled in Sanscrit, where she may possibly 
have seen a Sanscrit grammar. 

Given such prodigious feats of memory, 
Helene Smith's invented language and alphabet 


can well be understood. When the true nature 
of her trances was established beyond doubt, 
Flournoy made a bold move, and told the 
" Control " of the medium, Leopold Cagliostro, 
the truth to his face. The latter withdrew 
from the contest with the pointless phrase, " II y 
a des choses plus extraordinaire*" The incident, 
however, did not end here ; but it had further 
consequences for Helene Smith. New cycles 
were evolved in attempts to outbid the previous 
ones, with a view to giving a still more striking 
proof of the genuine character of the impersona- 
tions. In the place of Mars and the Martians 
appeared Asteroid and Uranus, to which later was 
appended a Moon cycle. New languages and 
newer and still more phantastic alphabets were 

We have here, therefore, clear evidence of an 
effort to create belief in an imaginary intercourse 
with a higher world. Have we the right to 
accuse Helene Smith of deception ? It does not 
seem so. In any case the question does not 
arise in connexion with Helene Smith in her 
waking state, in her normal everyday sur- 
roundings, but can only refer to her state in 
somnambulistic trance. 

Helene Smith, in a waking state, can only be 
held responsible for such actions to the same 
extent as a person who commits them in a som- 
nambulistic trance. But in the latter case 


responsibility is not usually attributed. We do 
not say that a person is responsible merely 
because he or she acts in a certain way, unless he 
or she has also complete control at the time of 
the normal mental faculties, and is not in an 
anomalous psychic state. Matters, however, are 
further complicated with regard to Helene Smith 
by the fact that her strange somnambulistic 
condition as well as her visions themselves were 
both occasioned by an impulse to prove the truth 
of her intercourse with supernatural spheres. 
All the same, Helene Smith cannot be held 
responsible for this when she is awake. Or are 
we to accept the explanation that Helene, while 
in a normal frame of mind, lends herself sub- 
consciously to such considerations ? Given such 
a hypothesis, even so she should not be held 
responsible, for there is no apparent sense in 
making a person accountable for thoughts and 
actions of which she is unconscious, while giving 
vent to them. 

Helene Smith did not always enter into a 
complete trance ; the abnormal psychic processes 
often only manifest themselves in a semi-somnam- 
bulistic or even still vaguer state. Automatic 
writing was frequently produced, representing 
as it does, possibly, the most oft-recurring 
phenomenon of mediumship of the present day. 
We are here concerned with a most remarkable 
phenomenon, though so recurrent a one that it 


can be produced at any moment in spiritual- 
istic circles. Its explanation alone remains 

Completely developed automatic writing con- 
sists according to the mediums in that their 
hands write purely mechanically, without know- 
ledge on their part of what they write. According 
to accounts by such authors as P. Janet and A. 
Binet, cases have occurred in which it was possible 
to converse with the mediums without dis- 
turbing them in the least in their writing. Cases 
have even been known in which the medium 
wrote with both hands simultaneously on different 
topics. There is no point in questioning these 
assertions as assertion of mere fact. But all 
cases are not of equally well-marked character. 
On the contrary, we find every possible grade 
and transition, ranging from normal voluntary 
active writing to these extremes. 

According to the classic Anglo-French theory 
attributed to Taine, we are dealing with " dis- 
sociated psychic processes," or, when another 
ego appears to express itself in writing, with 
"secondary personalities." This theory is in 
complete harmony with that of the conception 
of the mind by Wundt, which until lately 
practically dominated German Psychology. Ac- 
cording to this theory the individual ego is no 
more than a synthesis of separate psychic parts, 
and there is no permanent element which can be 


called the soul. According to this view mediums 
possess two or more of such mental syntheses, 
whereas in the normal human organism all mental 
processes are united in the form of one single 
unit. This conception is irreconcilable with 
that of the modern monadic view of the mind 
propounded by me in my " Phenomenology of 
the Soul." My view, however, is also able to 
deal with the automatic processes of mediumistic 
phenomena without having to resort to the 
hypothesis of purely physiological " Reflex Pheno- 
mena. " This moreover is a hypothesis which 
cannot be sustained, for automatic documents 
are often so completely coherent that something 
more than reflex action must be presupposed. 
To my mind there are only two possibilities : 
either the writing-motions of the medium are 
controlled by intellectual activities and thoughts, 
which do not reach his conscious apperception, 
and of which he is as oblivious as we are oblivious 
of words addressed to us when we are otherwise 
engrossed, or else the medium is at fault when 
he professes unconsciousness of such thoughts. 
This again invokes a dual possibility : either 
the medium forthwith forgets what has been 
thought or written, or merely imagines that he 
does not know what he is writing about. The 
latter supposition, strange and improbable though 
it appears, is not unlikely. Innumerable cases 
have been established through the examination 


of Psychaesthenics, where the latter complained 
that they wrote absolutely mechanically and did 
not know what they wrote, despite proof on 
investigation that they were entirely aware of it. 
It seems that such persons lack the normal 
complement of emotional feeling in intellectual 
as well as in other directions. And inasmuch as 
they are painfully conscious of their deficient 
sensibility, so that their own sensations appear 
to themselves either strange or non-existent, it 
is possible that a similar result in a more marked 
manner may take place in intellectual matters, 
particularly as the process of thought are in 
themselves so unsubstantial. It is, therefore, 
hardly surprising if they feel as though they had 
lost the power of independent thought. From 
this the further deduction might be made that, 
when the mediums write automatically, the 
emotional consciousness which accompanies 
thought is suspended, and they are not therefore 
conscious of thinking. This explanation may 
apply to some cases and sufficiently explain them ; 
though it fails when the " personality " who has 
been writing automatically is incapable, when 
asked, of giving the sense of what has been so 
written. Upon this view it is impossible to 
determine experimentally whether retrograde 
amnesia supervened, or whether the act of 
thought in question did not penetrate to the 
conscious apperception ; for the effect is the 


same In either case. The individual concerned 
cannot indicate the contents of what was written 
either during or after the act of writing. 

It is quite wrong from the monadic point of 
view to speak of " Subconsciousness." We 
speak of consciousness in all cases where we are 
cognizant of the psychic processes within us. 
" Subconsciousness," however, would imply that 
we possess such knowledge " below " our con- 
sciousness. This would mean that at one and 
the same time we have and have not such know- 
ledge, and consequently contains a complete 
inner contradiction. We may assume the ex- 
istence of as many subconscious processes as we 
please, but we must not talk of " subconscious 


Automatic writing presents no specific qualities. 
It may consist of meaningless lines ; on the other 
hand, it may also have a quite coherent meaning, 
either commonplace or full of interest. Poems 
of considerable beauty have even been evolved 
in this fashion. With Helene Smith the auto- 
matic writing appears to be derived from the 
same functional psychic combination as that 
which fills the whole consciousness in her som- 
nambulistic impersonations. 

But such automatic phenomena are not only 
confined to mediums. The best known case in 
connexion with a non-medium is that of Miss 
Beauchamp, examined by Morton Prince. In 


this instance, too, we are concerned with a whole 
crowd of so-called " personalities " who purport 
to be independent subjects, but who are, with- 
out doubt, only special modifications of Miss 
Beauchamp. Their relationship to each other 
is the same as that of the spirits to the medium, 
and they too make their presence manifest even 
in Miss Beauchamp's presumably normal state 
by means of automatic writing, hallucinations, 
etc. Here too, as in the case of Helene Smith, it 
might be argued that these strange phenomena 
are the result of suggestions made by the in- 
vestigator himself; but at any rate, they do 
exist, and are worthy of more minute study ; 
at least, as much as cases of hysterical anaesthesia, 
which it may be are also sometimes provoked by 
the treatment itself and caused by an intentional 
misdirection of the attention. 

Such phenomena are, for the greater part, 
closely connected with the action of suggestion 
in hypnotic cases, the precise psychological 
nature of which we still do not know. The 
only experimental scientific German work which 
shows understanding of, and seeks connexion with, 
these problems is to be found in Ach's book on 
" Willing Experiments." 

Apart from the phenomena of impersonation, 
Helene Smith seems to have evolved, though in a 
lesser degree, other phenomena of supernormal 
character in a narrower sense. She seems to 


have the gift of telepathy. Thanks to this gift, 
she is said to have had such an intimate knowledge 
of the private life of one of her fellow-clerks at 
her office that he was forced to give up his work 
there in consequence. On another occasion, 
for instance, she had a vision of Flournoy, said 
to be clairvoyance, when the latter was ill. How- 
ever, these facts are less completely established 
than are the phenomena of impersonation, since 
they are necessarily based on the reports of the 
medium herself or on the testimony of others. 
Even so, they can not always be completely 
explained. For instance, one day the medium 
automatically put down the signature of a priest, 
who, it was discovered later, had lived in a 
small hamlet in Savoy in the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. This signature absolutely 
corresponded with the original as recorded on 
ancient documents. It was, however, not proved 
that Helene Smith had ever seen this signature, 
which had been entirely forgotten. It was only 
found possible to prove that she had once passed 
through the village. It is, therefore, impossible 
to say how this automatic copy of the signature 
should be regarded. 

Equally vague in the case of Helene Smith are 
the reports on physical mediumistic phenomena. 
It was stated that a piano, violin and bell 
produced spontaneous sounds in her presence. 
Further, she informed Flournoy that once, 


after the visit of a man who was unsympathetic 
to her, a couple of oranges lying on the piano 
precipitated themselves in his direction im- 
mediately on his departure as the expression of 
her distaste of his presence. But the sole wit- 
nesses for the truth of this story are Helene 
Smith and her mother ; we are therefore unable 
to gauge the probabilities of this assertion. 

Finally, we should like to discover the exact 
importance of her mediumistic faculties to 
Helene Smith's general existence. Did they 
impair or advance the course of her life ? This 
question is answered by the fact that the chief 
phenomena only took place during spiritistic 
seances, consequently only with assent of the 
Medium. It is true that she was unable to 
produce them at her will in the ordinary sense of 
the word, but Helene Smith created or refused 
to create the atmosphere in which they spon- 
taneously developed. The only disturbances of 
her normal life were to be found in occasional 
semi-somnambulism, insignificant hallucinations, 
and illusions of compulsion. It also occasionally 
happened that an ordinary letter was replaced by 
one of her invented characters in the midst of 
her usual handwriting, or that the distinctive 
script of Marie Antoinette suddenly appeared 
altogether in its stead. Such occasional, though 
insignificant impediments to her normal mental 
existence were counter-balanced by many helpful 


mediumistic phenomena. Among these must be 
reckoned the useful counsels of Leopold Caglios- 
tro, conveyed by automatic writing, acoustic 
hallucinations, and other means. He advised her 
on her health, and his recommendations, con- 
cerning her participation in spiritualistic seances, 
invariably proved sensible and correct. This 
relationship between Helene and Leopold is 
nothing out of the common ; indeed it is of quite 
usual occurrence between the mediums who 
write automatically and the spirits which osten- 
sibly control them. The mediums are in closest 
sympathy with the spirits, who constitute them- 
selves their most faithful and intimate friends, 
to whom the mediums refer in all the great and 
small happenings of life ; and it is not uncommon 
for them to receive really valuable advice and 
instruction in this guise. This mental mechanism 
does not differ essentially from that of normal 
human beings. When we ponder over certain 
matters, the most valuable thoughts are some- 
times conveyed to us passively in the form of 
inspiration. The mental life of the medium is 
characterized by the fact that these same in- 
spirations appear at once in the glorified present- 
ment of thought and advice, emanating from a 
different personality. In the case of Helene 
Smith these thoughts are presented through 
automatic writing and acoustic hallucinations. 
We are obliged to assume that the medium does 


not possess an immediate apperceptive con- 
sciousness of these mental happenings but is 
only apprised of them through automatic writing 
or hallucinations. It is impossible meanwhile 
to determine the reason why such mental processes, 
which do not even reach apperception, should 
so easily set the writing-muscles in motion, or 
produce hallucinations. Sometimes the " un- 
conscious " processes in Helene Smith lead to 
more varied phenomena. One day as she was 
in the act of reaching from a cupboard an object 
too heavy for her physical strength, her arm 
suddenly stiffened, and Cagliostro explained 
later that he had been responsible for this to 
prevent her health from being impaired. 

In other cases, when she wished to remember 
something, the answer presented itself in hallucina- 
tory form. She recovered a brooch in a similar 
fashion, which she had lost one Sunday during 
a country walk. Again, on another occasion, she 
was assisted by her mediumistic faculties in 
placing the order of a client who wrote to ask 
for a material No. 13459. No one in the whole 
house knew to what he referred, neither did 
Helene Smith, who also hoped to find it. Sud- 
denly she placed her hand quite mechanically 
on a roll of material, and when she looked closer 
she found it bore the number required. In all 
such instances her mediumistic faculties were 
of great use to her. But the greatest advantage 


gained thereby lay in their ultimately freeing her 
from her cramped material position. A rich 
American lady, who took a fancy to her, con- 
ducted her to a bank one day, and there made 
certain financial arrangements, which secured 
her independence for life. Her firm conviction 
that she was ordained for something better than 
that of a warehouse clerk was thus realized. She 
at once severed her connexion with her employers, 
but at the same time unfortunately with 
Flournoy, whom she had unsuccessfully tried to 
convert to spiritualism. Nothing further is 
known about her later medial development, 
though, considering how restricted Geneva 
circles are, inquiries on this point should not be 
difficult. 1 It is greatly to be desired in view of 
the interest presented by the observation of the 
psychic development of every Medium, that this 
omission should be rectified at the earliest 

1 Note by translator, Professor Oesterreich is misinformed. 
She took to psychic (inspirational) painting. Cf. " Annales des 
Sciences psychiques," pottfm up to 1914. 



^ | AHE case of the medium, Helene Smith, 
I did not present any special problem in its 
main manifestations. The strictly super- 
normal phenomena were not sufficiently frequent 
to be either understood or admitted. It is a 
different matter when we come to the American 
medium, Mrs. Piper. Mrs. Piper, at an earlier 
date than Helene Smith, produced supernormal 
phenomena with such regularity and under such 
unimpeachable conditions that they can, with 
the greatest probability, be regarded as estab- 
lished facts. For decades she was under scientific 
observation and the result never varied. Thus 
we have here a case of which the supernormal 
character is above all suspicion. It is therefore 
no longer a question of the problem of the 
existence of supernormality ; the problem lies in 
the ways and manners of its evolution. 

Mrs. Piper was a married woman of the Boston 
middle-classes. Her scientific discoverer was W. 
James, whose attention was drawn to her in 1885. 
The manner of his discovery was both unromantic 
and unscientific in character ; in fact, it sounds 



more like an old wives' tale. James's sister-in-law 
told him one day of an unknown woman who 
had been able to give details about the writer 
of an Italian letter, who was a stranger to her, 
simply by placing the letter on her forehead. 
James was sceptical, but sufficiently curious and 
interested to look Mrs, Piper up for himself. 
At her first sitting, however, his former sus- 
picious attitude was replaced by the conviction 
that Mrs. Piper was producing supernormal 
psychic phenomena. In her trance she was able 
to give detailed information regarding James's 
relatives, though none of these lived in the 
neighbourhood. Some had settled in California, 
others in Maine, some were already dead. 

She knew that one of James's children was 
dead. " Your child," said the spirit which 
claimed to be talking through Mrs. Piper to 
James, " has a playfellow here in our world, a 

boy named Robert Fr " ; and this name was 

found to be the actual name of a child who had 
died. James himself believed the information to 
be incorrect, and that the child referred to had 
been a little girl. Inquiries proved, however, 
that it was not the spirit which was wrong, but 
James it was a boy. The medium made correct 
assertions about James " You have just killed a 
grey-white cat by means of ether." James's 
mother-in-law lost a cheque book ; it was found 
through her indications. 


Curiously enough, though he visited Mrs. 
Piper several times, James did not undertake any 
further personal examination of the medium for 
quite a time, though he kept himself permanently 
informed about her through his friend Hodgson, 
the Secretary of the American Society for Psy- 
chical Research. The latter, except when away 
on a journey, instituted regular sittings several 
times weekly over a period of twenty years, from 
the date of his arrival in America (1887) until 
his death in 1906. He carried out this duty, 
if not always in the best of tempers, yet with the 
utmost conscientiousness and in a most business- 
like fashion. He also undertook to introduce to 
Mrs. Piper all the visitors who came to see her, 
as she considered it to be her religious duty to 
place her strange gift at the service of science. 

Shorthand reports of the automatic statements 
of the medium were taken down at innumerable 
sittings. In later years automatic writing came 
to the fore, and voluminous records emanating 
from the supposed spirits were the result. In 
1900 the proceedings of the Society for Psychical 
Research had already published 1,500 pages on 
Mrs, Piper alone, of which half was devoted to 
the minutes of her sittings. Since then, further 
comprehensive publications have been printed, 
so that the present material in hand comprises 
some 3,200 pages, though many records of the 
sittings and inspirational writings have not been 


printed. To these must be added other material 
on the subject published elsewhere. No other 
medium, with the exception of Eusapia Palladino, 
has been examined so often. 

As time went on, Mrs. Piper's mediumistic 
faculties became fainter. She found increasing 
difficulty in falling into a trance, and indeed this be- 
came impossible after the middle of 1911, owing, 
possibly to the after-effects of a shock experienced 
at certain experimental sittings with the psycho- 
logist, Stanley Hall, and his assistant, Miss Tanner. 
Despite this, she was still able to produce auto- 
matic writing in a state of normal consciousness. 

The manner in which the supernormal pheno- 
mena manifested themselves through Mrs. Piper 
during a lifetime is common to all mediums. 
She fell into a trance, and the spirits then spoke 
through her. At least so it happened at first, 
though, later on, automatic writing was more 
prevalent. But even so, for many years Mrs. 
Piper remained in a state of trance when writing. 
In order to attain this state at first she merely 
held some one's hand ; after a few minutes' 
spasmodic movements set in, resembling a slight 
epileptic attack, with a lessening of the cutaneous 
sensibility. Then came the state of impersona- 
tion. Mrs. Piper apparently withdrew from her 
organism, and other individualities took her 
place. Their number is a very considerable one, 
certain of them recurring often, Phinuit, 


George Pelham, Rector, Imperator, and others ; 
and later; after their death; Myers and 
Hodgson. The "controls," or impersonating 
spirits, however, were not always themselves the 
communicators on their own behalf. It not 
infrequently happened that one or the other of 
the impersonating spirits volunteered the in- 
formation that other spirits were present who said 
certain things (" communicators "). The life- 
like resemblance of those impersonated must, 
according to the reports, have been unusually 
strong; character, voice and demeanour were 
almost uncannily accurate. 

Nevertheless, Mrs. Piper is not distinguished 
by any specific peculiarities from numerous other 
mediums of lesser qualifications. The interest of 
her manifestations rests in the first place on the 
knowledge shown by the impersonated indi- 
viduals, or rather by Mrs. Piper in the impersona- 
tion trance. This knowledge was not infre- 
quently of supernormal nature not so much as 
regards its subject as in the manner in which 
that Mrs. Piper was able to obtain it. 

The character of supernormal phenomena 
always remained the same. When Mrs. Piper in 
trance was apparently controlled by certain 
personalities, she often gave information concern- 
ing the name, character and past of those present 
as well of others known to them, either alive or 
dead. These details were always quite unin- 


teresting : the description of some one's cane, 
what sort of cuff-links he wore, and from whom 
he had received them as a present, etc. She 
made a point of reminding those present of 
various little details of their past, of which she 
was quite unlikely to have heard. Such in- 
formation was mainly forthcoming when objects 
belonging to those interested were placed before 
Mrs. Piper (Psychometry). The knowledge 
which she had of deceased persons was so astound- 
ing that many a sceptic, entirely opposed to 
spiritualism, became a convert. The immediate 
impression produced by the automatic writing 
or conversation and the seemingly direct inter- 
course with spirits, who declared themselves by 
questions and answers, were apparently much 
more convincing than is the subsequent reading 
of the minutes of the sittings. This explains 
how it was that even an investigator of such 
strength of mind as Hodgson, who originally 
belonged entirely to the positivist school of 
thought, was converted to spiritualism. His 
friend, George Pelham, was apparently im- 
personated after his recent death in Mrs. 
Piper, and reminded Hodgson of the varied details 
of their former philosophical conversations. 
Further, the " spirit " greeted all his old ac- 
quaintances. His parents were presented to him 
under an assumed name; but in vain, for he 
recognized them nevertheless. All this made 


such a profound impression on Hodgson that he 
came to the conclusion that the spiritistic 
interpretation was justified. The craving to 
learn more about life after death from his own 
experience became overwhelming, and he is 
reported shortly before his death to have said 
that he could hardly contain his impatience : 
" I can hardly wait to die." 

James had a similar experience after Hodgson's 
death, with the latter's impersonation. The 
resemblance to the deceased and the super- 
normal nature of the information volunteered 
was so great that " I felt a slight shiver down my 
spine, as though I really had been talking to my 
old friend." And he too, who had for years 
defended the anti-spiritistic standpoint against 
Hodgson, now no longer felt able to reject 
entirely the spiritist explanation. 

There is no doubt that Mrs. Piper did not 
obtain her knowledge by normal methods. Those 
who have studied but a few passages of the 
shorthand notes of the minutes must be certain 
of this. True, it is dry reading (at least, for 
those who are not greatly interested in such 
problems), for the notes are very trite and ordinary 
for the main part. The chief interest invariably 
centres in the question how Mrs. Piper could 
have known of these intimate details. And even 
Stanley Hall, who apparently possesses the typical 
positivistic scepticism of the average experimental 


psychologist, admits that " the control seems to 
possess faculties that appear supernormal." 

The problem no longer runs : " Do super- 
normal phenomena occur in the case of Mrs. 
Piper ? " but " Which hypothesis is the more 
likely to explain them ? " 

Disciples of the spiritistic interpretation draw 
attention to further considerations. For instance, 
spirits who are impersonated in a medium soon 
after death make extremely confused statements, 
as if they had not yet completely found them- 
selves. This is particularly noticeable with regard 
to the spirits of those who died from mental or 
similar diseases, tending to prove that they still 
bear traces of their mental deficiencies. It also 
happened that one of the " spirits," who was 
impersonated in Mrs. Piper, explained to a lady 
present at the stance, that he had just appeared 
to one of her relatives who had died immediately 
afterwards. It was proved later that the person 
in question had actually died and that the 
" spirit " had actually appeared to him shortly 
before death. The very words, which appear 
to have been heard by the dying man, were 
repeated by Mrs. Piper. And yet none of these 
arguments are incontrovertible. Every one of 
the evidential cases might be explained as an 
elaboration by the creative imagination of Mrs. 
Piper 's^telepathically acquired knowledge and by 
her telepathic faculty working in conjunction 


with the minds of others in the instance given 
with that of the dying man. Without the 
hypothesis of telepathy, all attempts at explana- 
tion are abortive. And in addition to the tele- 
pathic perception of the immediate actual mental 
processes of those present at the seance we have 
also to assume that the medium could read 
thoughts which were latent. When Mrs. Piper 
informs Professor James that he has just killed a 
cat with ether, there is a possibility that he might 
have given a casual thought to this fact at that 
precise moment. When, on the other hand, she 
gives him information about distant relatives or 
a dead child the above theory appears improbable. 
It must therefore be assumed that she was herself 
able to reproduce even mere latent memories of 
those present. 

A special difficulty arises in those cases where 
Mrs. Piper made correct statements in contra- 
diction of the thought of the person who was 
apparently the telepathic source of her informa- 
tion, that person making a mistake. This applies 
to the case where Mrs. Piper indicated the correct 
sex of the child, while James was wrong. If, 
however, the origin of her assertions is to be 
found in James's memory, it must be assumed that 
there are, so to say, deeper strata of subcon- 
sciousness, otherwise her declaration would have 
agreed with his erroneous opinion. That such 
deeper strata do exist is proved by the fact that 


under certain artificially induced conditions it is 
possible by narrowing the circle of consciousness 
to improve the memory and correct mistakes. 
Mrs. Piper's telepathic power seems to have gone 
direct to such latent memories. 

But how is it that Mrs. Piper, when shown an 
object belonging to a person unknown to all 
those present, was yet able to give information 
about it later proved to have been correct ? 
Or when she disclosed matters even unknown to 
the latent memory to those present at the seance ? 
These psychometric manifestations have so far 
been considered inexplicable. 

In order, however, to attempt to explain them, 
it has been assumed that all objects are surrounded, 
so to speak, by a psychic aura or by the " Life- 
spirit " of their owner. (" Influences.") Either 
conception, particularly the latter, is quite 
nebulous. The additional hypothesis deduced 
from them, that, for instance, it is not right to 
place articles which were the property of different 
owners close to each other, as they infect each 
other and give bad psychometric results, has not 
been verified. Stanley Hall on one occasion 
showed Mrs. Piper an object which was not the 
one originally chosen to be shown to her, but 
only bore a marked resemblance to the original. 
She was nevertheless enabled to make correct 
communications applicable to the owner of the 
original " real " object, in spite of the fact that 


it possessed neither " psychic aura," nor was it 
steeped in " nerve spirit." She had apparently 
been duped. 

Another explanation lies in the assumption 
that the survival of personality is so limited that 
only shreds of memory are left in the world, 
and it is of these shreds that the mediums are 
able to take advantage. This conception implies 
an exceedingly strange misconception of the 
nature of the mind, as indeed of memory in par- 
ticular, and results in a reversion to the ideas of 
Herbart. Just as Herbart materialized the indi- 
vidual acts of perception into permanent atoms, 
so upon this theory acts of memory are regarded 
as concrete facts : and this, though individual 
acts of memory, even when repeated with 
reference to the same object, cannot by any means 
be considered as identically the same. Further- 
more this theory is at fault in assuming that if 
two different people remember the same event 
it must be the case of an identical remembrance. 
On the contrary, there would be two distinct 
acts of memory, as each person has his own 
individual memory, even though applied to the 
same event. If this hypothesis is to be adopted 
at all, it must be applied consistently and clearly. 
We shall then need an entirely new foundation 
for psychological theory. In exact opposition to 
the monadic conception of the soul, it will be 
necessary to assume that the psyche, like the 


body, is also composed of individual parts, 
capable either of a permanent, independent 
existence, or at any rate of a continued existence 
for a certain length of time. These separate 
parts may find themselves combined at certain 
times, just as the body is composed of atoms, 
which, if placed in a different juxtaposition to 
each other, would produce other bodies. Dis- 
memberment and materialization would not only 
be true of the memory, but of all other mental 
phenomena. And the result would be unless 
we go on to assume the existence of separate 
specimens of the same mental phenomenon 
that we should have to say that to some degree 
different individuals are actually constituted from 
the same parts. For instance, a colour noticed 
by another person and myself would be actually 
the same identical perception in both of us. 
The same thing would apply to an emotion or 
manifestation of will power. For the theory, 
if it is right for memory, is right also for all other 
mental acts, and thus demonstrates its own 

In my opinion, all psychometric manifestations 
alike can be traced back to Telepathy, and this 
I have pointed out in my " Fundamental Notions 
of Parapsychology." It must be assumed that 
Mrs. Piper was in unbroken subconscious tele- 
pathic nexus with almost everybody, so that much 
of their actual experiences or memories was 


telepathically transferred to her, and at her 
disposal while she was in a trance and able to 
recall it. If this is so she would, on being shown 
a watch, remember its owner, to whom certain 
associations would necessarily be attached, in the 
same way that we, on receiving a gift, may think 
of the donor and possibly of his relatives or 
other common acquaintances. For this reason 
I should like to suggest the term " Paramnesy " 
or " Metamnesy " for psychometric phenomena. 
The supposition that spurious spirits and not 
Mrs. Piper are responsible for such communica- 
tions would merely be an explanation created 
by the imagination, and it is of daily occurrence 
in modern occultism by reason of traditions and 
beliefs which are passed on from one medium 
to another. 

That the spiritistic interpretation actually 
presents difficulties to spiritists themselves has 
been clearly proved by the recent attempt made 
to explain Mrs. Piper's trance, not as genuine 
impersonations, but as founded on a telepathic 
nexus not only with the living but also with the 
spirits of those who had passed over and were 
continuing their existence transcendentally. It 
is true that it is not possible to refute this any 
more than the usual spiritistic interpretation ; 
but it is still true that all positive proof of spiritism 
is unjustified, for whatever the communications 
may be by which spirits prove their existence, 


they must themselves be verified, in order that 
their validity may be accepted. But verification 
is only possible when the facts are vouched for 
by living people or proved by documents. And 
where this is possible, it is also possible in principle 
to ascribe the knowledge of the medium to 
Telepathy or Clairvoyance. 

That Mrs. Piper was in possession of telepathic 
and possibly clairvoyant faculties also seems to be 
confirmed by various data. On one occasion a 
sitter was informed by her through a " spirit " 
that there was a defective place, a crack under a 
certain window in her (the sitter's) house. 
Another time it was directly arranged with one 
of the " spirits " (G. Pelham) that he should 
observe the doings of a certain person and report 
at the next seance what had happened in the 
meantime. This actually was done. The 
" spirit " reported that the person under observa- 
tion, who lived far away in Washington, had 
taken a photograph to an artist on a certain day 
with a request to paint a portrait from it- This 
was quite correct. Not even the man's wife 
was aware of the incident. 

There are, however, various positive considera- 
tions which militate against the spiritistic charac- 
ter of Mrs. Piper's state of trance. For instance, 
Dr. Phinuit, who lay claim to being a French 
doctor at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century, speaking through her, had no knowledge 


whatever of the medicines used at that time. 
Mrs. Piper's most outstanding failure lay, how- 
ever, in being unable to communicate the contents 
of a letter, unknown to all who were then alive, 
left by a stranger who had died. The attempt 
was twice repeated, to fail in both instances. 
Once, too, there was the question of a letter left 
by Hodgson, which he had promised to com- 
municate to his friends if possible after his death, 
through Mrs. Piper, as proof of his continued 
existence. Even though Hodgson was apparently 
impersonated soon afterwards in Mrs. Piper, his 
attempts to give the contents of the letter proved 
quite abortive. This led to the conclusion that 
Mrs. Piper's efforts as a whole were only con- 
nected with her telepathic nexus with the living ; 
though possibly this conclusion may go too far. 
It is only certain, either that she is not in con- 
tinuous telepathic nexus with everyone, or that 
her memories are not always entirely within her 
control, otherwise she would have received tele- 
pathic news of this letter during Hodgson's 
lifetime when it was written, and remembered 
it later. She was not gifted with equal param- 
nestic faculties with regard to all the sitters. 
These abortive attempts also prove that Mrs. 
Piper was not always capable of clairvoyance, or 
she would have been able to decipher the letter 
by that means. And despite her supernormality 
there are ojher errors and gaps in her manifesta- 


tions. At times, for instance, she gropes in 
doubt after a name, and occasionally does not 
get beyond similarities in sound. Thus Gibbons 
was pronounced as Kiblin, Giblin, and so forth. 
And the definite impression left is the same as 
that when we ourselves are half unable to recall 
a name, a result which is much in favour of the 
explanation already given in regard to " Psycho- 
metry." Half-true, inaccurate, and totally false 
communications have also been given ; as, for 
example, the wrong date of the delivery of the 
photograph to the painter in the episode above 
mentioned. In other cases, it was not possible 
to establish the exact truth. 

But all these inaccuracies, defects and negative 
results cannot shake the positive material. Its 
wealth is overwhelming. 

So far as I am aware, no one who came into 
personal contact with Mrs. Piper, or who was 
concerned in first-hand reports about her, had 
any doubt as to the supernormal nature of her 
mind, and her supernormality is as securely 
established as any historical event. It has been 
proved scientifically, and there can be no further 
discussion as to the fact. Most of the investiga- 
tors fared just as James did. Those who grew 
up in the atmosphere of the departing nineteenth 
century necessarily brought scepticism and 
rationalistic prejudices to bear on the preliminary 
*tudy of parapsychological problems, but the case 


of Mrs. Piper could not in spite of all their 
scepticism be lightly dismissed. In order to be 
quite certain steps were taken to place her and 
her relatives under continuous supervision by 
detectives, and nothing in the least suspicious was 
ever discovered. She was several times sent to 
England, to stay as a guest in a private house, 
in totally strange surroundings. Her luggage, 
and practically the whole of her limited corre- 
spondence she never wrote more than three 
letters a week were examined, with equally 
fruitless results. What paraphernalia she would 
have needed had her demonstrations been founded 
on fraud ! She was fully informed, so to speak, 
on each person who came to her ; and not only 
on the person himself, but also on his friends and 
relatives, both alive and dead. And as she never 
knew who was likely to come to her, she should, 
by rights, have possessed a register or family 
record of everyone under the sun. Though even 
the most comprehensive index would have been 
useless without her supernormal faculties, for 
she would not only have had to memorize this 
index in its entirety, but also to identify each 
visitor, even when, as repeatedly happened, he 
was introduced to her under an assumed name. 

As a matter of fact she only learnt of her 
peculiar condition through the reports of third 
parties. She had herself no recollection of her 
trance. Unlike Helene Smith, she appears to 


have had herself no consciousness of a dual 
personality when she was passing slowly from her 
normal condition to her trance state. 

While Helene Smith became aware of her 
abnormal psychic processes through automatic 
writing and semi-somnambulistic conditions, Mrs. 
Piper was either in a complete state of impersona- 
tion and trance-somnambulism or entirely normal. 
There was no transition through intermediate 
stages. Consequently it was only through the 
testimony of others that she became aware of 
anything remarkable about herself. She per- 
sonally was more inclined to the telepathic 
interpretations than to the spiritistic, and she is 
the only one of the three great mediums with 
whom we are concerned who shows definite 
reserve with regard to spiritism. 

Bearing in mind the fanatic devotion evinced 
by such individuals towards spiritism on the 
whole, it is decidedly refreshing to come across 
a medium of such remarkable powers who 
adopted such a critical attitude : " My opinion 
is to-day (1901) as it was eighteen years ago. 
Spirits of the departed may have controlled me 
and they may not. l confess that I do not know." 

However unusual the interest created in Mrs. 
Piper's case by the wealth, abundance and, above 
all, the careful scientific control to which it was 
so long subjected, her case does not stand alone. 
She has not only been rivalled by English-speaking 


mediums, but by Germans also. Tischner re- 
ports on them, and the psychologist, Professor 
Baensch, was repeatedly present at such experi- 
ments. In one instance, the latter himself 
handed the medium, X, a small silver Turkish 
coin, which could not be felt through its wrapping 
of tissue paper, and which he carried about with 
him in his purse together with two fifty-centime 
pieces, several stamps, a trunk-key, and a ribbon 
of the Iron Cross. The medium made some 
striking assertions with reference to these articles 
and their history. On closer examination of 
the reports of these experiments we find a jumble 
of visions and acoustic phenomena (the medium 
hears a voice saying something to him), and 
finally we get purely intellectual perception, as, 
for instance, the declaration " from a strange 
country, without a doubt." Acoustic phenomena 
may possibly be explained as an alternative ex- 
pression of conscious knowledge, though this 
can surely not be asserted with regard to visual 
phenomena. The paramnestic theory is also 
applicable to Tischner ? s case of B, where the 
situations remembered were not due to " know- 
ledge," but to sensation of " sight " (not to say of 
" hearing "). In this case we must assume that 
the original telepathic perceptions themselves 
were reproduced, just as we ourselves in some 
cases remember events, in others, recall an actual 
concrete sensory picture of them. 


We conclude, provisionally, that Mrs. Piper's 
achievements were confined to her intercourse 
with the living (including those who passed over 
while her memorizing powers were still un- 
exhausted). It is, however, most desirable that 
further research should be undertaken to see if 
this conclusion is correct. Another medium 
reported on by Osty is said to have visualized 
prehistoric landscapes and catastrophes on being 
handed a fossilized animal's tooth, and on 
touching an antique jewel. This same medium 
described facts of ancient Greece, though here, 
of course, verification is extraordinarily difficult. 
Some one was aware that the objects in question 
were a fossilized tooth and an antique Greek 
jewel. And there are enough sources, " con- 
scious " and otherwise, on which a medium of 
some education can draw for descriptions of 
geological and historical events. It is only if 
the visions of the medium exceed these limits 
and disclose facts which have to be verified after- 
wards that we should be justified in assuming 
that psychometry differs specifically from an 
elaborated telepathy as described above. As 
I have already indicated in detail, it is, however, 
possible to ascribe all "historical psychometry" 
to telepathy. It is only necessary to assume 
the existence of a subconscious telepathic nexus 
between all, or at least most, of the medially 
disposed individuals. In this manner the 


experiences and knowledge of these people would 
be inherited from generation to generation, and 
a perfect medium would thus be able to recount 
the adventures of Rameses the Great or of 
Alexander. He might become the spiritual 
witness of the erection of the Pyramids and of 
the invocation of Jupiter Ammon. History 
would thus have direct connexion with the past 
by reawakening in the souls of men the actual 
traces of past ages through the intermediary of 
the great mediums. What a perspective is 
opened out by the thought that the day may 
come when the battle of Marathon or the appear- 
ance of Socrates before his judges might be 
described to us by a person in a trance. We 
should learn everything : how Greek was pro- 
nounced, and how Socrates and Plato conversed 
together ; for the voice and physiognomy of the 
medium of genius is as malleable as wax. 

But how would it be if the medium were 
capable of still greater efforts, and could describe 
events of the prehistoric age ? If the whole of 
the past were to be unrolled before us ? The 
thought is too phantastical, but we are not aware 
of the bounds of psychometry. The possibility 
must be recognized and investigated. It is 
obvious that the truth will take long to establish. 
If the result of the investigation were to establish 
the theory as fact, it would mean that psycho- 
metry cannot be founded (or at any rate not 


alone) on a telepathic nexus of humanity. Its 
causes would be deeper and still more wonderful. 
Either those would be right who are of opinion 
that all events leave traces on the object under 
observation, and that these traces produce 
corresponding thoughts or manifestations in the 
psychometric medium, or it must be accepted 
that these mediums get their telepathic know- 
ledge from the memory of God or that of another 
superhuman spirit (the Earth Soul of Fechner). 
Anna Katherina Emmerich, who was canonized 
by the Catholic Church, was accredited with 
supernormal faculties, and in her case what 
appears to be historical paramnesia has been 
proved with comparative accuracy. The poet 
Clemens Brentano has collected a good deal of 
material about her. She left whole cycles of 
visions about Jesus and Mary, purporting to 
contain information on archaeological details in 
Palestine, which were still unknown in her 
lifetime, but which are said to have been 
verified lately. Should these assertions really 
be confirmed but I confess that I have felt so 
sceptical about them that I have not even 
troubled to examine them closer they would 
be of the greatest interest for the further 
development of Parapsychology. 



THE store of mediumistic phenomena was 
further increased some ten years ago by 
a new development, hitherto unknown, 
that of Cross-Correspondence. It was dis- 
covered by the distinguished secretary of the 
British Society for Psychical Research, Alice 
Johnson, who, while studying the automatic 
writings, of the different mediums, became aware 
of a strange relationship between them. In 
some cases this consisted of striking allusions made 
by one written communication to the other, 
in the use by both mediums of the same strange 
expressions, in a common reference to a certain 
literary quotation, and so on. This relationship 
was of too frequent and systematic a character 
to be merely due to chance, and did not neces- 
sarily exist between two mediums only, but 
between several. For instance, on April 8, 
1907, Mrs. Piper uttered the words " Light 
in the West " while in a trance in London. On 
the same day, three hours later, Mrs. Verrall, 
a medium in Cambridge, wrote automatically 
among other things : " Rosy is the East, etc. 



You will find that you have written a message for 
Mr. Piddington, a message that you have not 
understood, but that he has. Tell him this." 
Moreover, on the same day, a little later, a third 
medium, in Calcutta, Mrs. Holland, wrote : 
" This exceptional sky, beneath which dusk 
renders the East as beautiful and shining as the 
West, Martha became Mary and Lea Rachel." 
Closer analysis of these expressions and of their 
contrast proved that all three scripts were 
related to each other. 

A second instance : On August 6, 1906, Mrs. 
Holland wrote in India at the end of a fairly long 
communication, separated by a wider space and 
in an altered hand : 

"Yelo" (scribbled). 

"Yellowed Ivory." 

Two days later Mrs. Verrall wrote in Cambridge 
on August 8 : 

" I have done it to-night y yellow is the 
written word 
Say only yellow/ 

And her daughter also wrote automatically 
at the same time, without her mother's know- 
ledge : 

" Camomile and resin the prescription is old 
on yellow paper in a box with a sweet scent." 


In other cases automatic writings supplement 
each other, and only make coherent sense when 
added together. It is to use a metaphor 
almost as though a manuscript had been cut 
into scraps and handed to various compositors 
who would only be able to make sense of the 
whole after joining the fragments together. 
Oddly enough, cross-correspondence first showed 
itself suddenly among a number of mediums, 
including Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. 
Piper, and others. 

Spiritistic interpretation sees in cross-corre- 
spondence the best of all proofs of its teaching 
that mediumistic phenomena emanate from 
spirits, arguing that the relationship between 
the various automatic scripts can only be the 
outcome of an intelligence beyond the ken of the 
mediums, which uses the latter to prove its own 
independent existence through the cross-corre- 
spondences. Only an intelligence, it is argued, 
would be capable of meting out a consecutive 
idea into distinct parts and then directing the 
pen of the various mediums so that each should 
write separate fragments of the whole. Spiritism 
further points to the strange coincidence that 
cross-correspondence appeared for the first time 
after the death of Myers, one of the most eminent 
scientific English-speaking spiritists, who was 
expected to furnish a conclusive proof of spiritism. 
In the first cross-correspondence, the " spirit " 


purporting to be Myers draws direct attention 
to the new development and the prospect of its 
further continuance. As a matter of fact, it is 
not possible not to regard certain cases of cross- 
correspondence as evidence of the most remark- 
able and difficult parapsychic phenomena. It 
is easy to understand that when confronted with 
cross-correspondence, scepticism should lose its 
assurance, and that those spiritistically inclined 
should become definite converts. It is obvious 
that cross-correspondence must be attributed to 
a reflecting mind. There can be no question of 
chance, for the varied inspirational utterances 
are too numerous, too striking in character, and 
fit into each other too well. Despite this, they 
need not be regarded as any incontrovertible 
proof of spiritism. The hackneyed contention 
that the various mediums concerned have come 
to an understanding with regard to a common 
deception cannot, of course, be maintained. 
There is no cause for suspicion here. The 
possibility, however, is not to be denied that 
there may be an unconscious telepathic under- 
standing of that kind. We have gradually 
collected so many proofs of the highly developed 
intelligence of the subconscious mediumistic 
psychic life that such a hypothesis cannot be 
excluded. We know of automatic riddles and of 
anagrams of such artistic conception that we 
cannot reject such possibilities. A certain Mr. 


A., for instance, while experimenting with 
automatic writing, at his third attempt to obtain 
a reply from the supposed spirit to his question : 
" What is Man ? " received the automatic answer, 
" Tefi Hasl Esble Lies," of which the solution is 
" Life is the less able." 

It must not be forgotten that the majority of 
the mediums are confirmed spiritists, so that a 
tendency or a desire to testify as to the genuine 
nature of spiritism is ever prevalent. In the 
same way, in the case of Helene Smith, this 
tendency was concentrated on the invention of 
faked languages. Mrs. Piper, however, lacked 
any such tendency while awake, as her attitude 
towards spiritism remained neutral. But it 
must be noted that in her case, the parapsychic 
manifestations were evolved in trance, in a state 
of transmuted personality. She was then ap- 
parently transformed into other personalities. 
These " spirits " i.e. the somnambulistic Mrs. 
Piper were, however, as such, naturally con- 
vinced as to the truth of spiritism, and their 
whole activity was concentrated on evolving 
proofs of their belief. Is it surprising that she 
was bent on making use of her telepathic faculties 
to this effect ? Even the fact that the pheno- 
menon of cross-correspondence was manifested 
with comparative suddenness by the various 
mediums, is no proof for the spiritistic conten- 
tion that the spirits agreed to make common use 


of this new channel. It is a quite sufficient 
explanation that, once cross-correspondence has 
been discovered, innumerable mediums should 
employ it. 

No difficulty is encountered in interpreting the 
cases in which the cross-correspondence confines 
itself to connexions between automatic script 
in the way in which a certain word is repeated 
or referred to. Such similarities must be ex- 
plained as due to the mediums writing being 
possessed of telepathic or clairvoyant faculties. 
It is another matter when one fragment only 
makes sense when joined to another, each scrap 
consisting of one sentence. Then it is necessary, 
unless the connexion between the two scripts is 
to be regarded in the light of mere coincidence 
resulting from a purely hypothetical completion 
of one fragment by another, that a mutual 
understanding or convention should be assumed 
to exist between the two mediums to settle 
which words of the sentence should be written 
by either. If, however, telepathic possibilities 
of communication actually exists between them, 
it is equally admissible to contend that all these 
various mediums are alike imbued with their 
desire to add to the proofs in favour of spiritism. 
It might also be that one medium simply trans- 
mits telepathic suggestion to another " dis- 
tance," in which case there need be no question 
of any previous agreement. 


A conscious suggestive influence of one trance 
personality on other individuals would represent 
a positive novum. A priori there is no reason 
why a person in a somnambulistic state or in a 
similar condition should not be subjected to 
suggestion from others, and also subject others 
thereto. Experimentally, we only know at the 
present time of suggestion " Jt distance " (based 
on the tests of Richet, P. Janet, and others), in 
the form of suggestions by a conscious individual. 

It would be extremely interesting (if it were 
possible) to persuade the trance personalities 
themselves to make suggestions either to con- 
scious or to other hypnotized persons. Suggestion 
on suggestion might also be contrived, by in- 
fluencing a person under hypnosis, so that he should 
distribute his own suggestions even at a distance. 

Cross-correspondences are from the point of 
view of logical proof at a disadvantage when 
compared with other parapsychic phenomena, 
in so far as we are, in their case, mainly obliged 
to rely on the veracity of the mediums them- 
selves. Many among them, notably those to 
whom the most important experiments are due, 
as also the authors of the reports published in the 
" Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Re- 
search," have themselves supplied the material in 
full cognisance of the stage reached in the 
problem at issue. The assumption that the 
writers must be regarded as common frauds is 



in contradiction to what is known of their 
character on the whole ; besides which, in Mrs. 
Piper's case, the phenomena of cross-corre- 
spondence were carried out under a system of 
strict control. 


In response to several requests I will give 
below a few more examples of cross-corre- 

One of the most famous, which occurred right 
at the beginning of the cross-correspondence, 
is as follows : 

Mrs. Verrall, lecturer in classics at the 
University of Cambridge, writes : 

"On January 31, 1902, I had been lunching 
with Mr. Piddington in town, and after the 
arrival of Sir Oliver Lodge from Birmingham 
was about to walk with them to the S.P.R. 
Council Meeting at 3 p.m., when I felt suddenly 
so strong a desire to write that I came down and 
made an excuse for not accompanying the 
gentlemen, saying I would drive later. As soon 
as they had started I wrote automatically in the 
dining-room the following words : 

" Panopticon 0<t>aipas (mroXXci ovvMypa PVOTMOP 

ri OVK cdidw; volatile ferrum pro telo impinget." 
A few more words were added, when I was 
interrupted by Mr. Piddington, who had re- 
turned, in order to drive with me to the meeting. 


All the rest of the day I felt a wish to write, and 
finally, in the train on the way home to Cam- 
bridge, more script was produced. That script 
contained no verifiable statement but was signed 
with two crosses, one of them being the Greek 
cross, definitely stated elsewhere in the script to 
be the sign of Rector (one of Mrs. Piper's trance 
personalities). . . . 

So far for what happened in England. In 
Boston, as I subsequently learned, the following 
took place. At Mrs. Piper's sitting on January 28, 
1902, after the reference to my daughter's 
supposed vision, Dr. Hodgson suggested that the 
same " control " should try to impress my 
daughter in the course of the next week with a 
scene or object. The control assented. Dr. 
Hodgson said : " Can you try and make Helen 
see you holding a spear in your hand ? " The 
control asked : " Why a sphere ? " Dr. Hodgson 
repeated " spear," and the control accepted the 
suggestion, and said the experiment should be 
tried for a week. On February 4, 1902, at the 
next sitting, and therefore at the very first 
opportunity, the control claimed to have been 
successful in making himself visible to Helen 
Verrall with a " sphear " (so spelt in the trance 

This example is also an instance of the curious 
and baffling confusion which prevails in much 
of the automatic writing which contains cross- 


correspondences. Instead of an (actively con- 
ditioned telepathic ?) vision which we might 
have expected after the seance with Mrs. Piper, 
we get at Mrs. Verrall's end (as was so often the 
case with her) script mixed up with broken bits 
of Latin and Greek (she was a classical scholar), 
or, as in the present case, so far as it is published, 
script consisting of nothing but bits of Latin 
and Greek, in which very clear allusions, obvious 
at once, strike us to the seance in Boston (vfaipa 
= sphere ; volatile ferrum, telum spear). 

A second example. On March II, 1907, at 
about eleven o'clock, Mrs. Piper, who was in her 
normal waking consciousness, said " Violets. 
Dr. Hodgson (said) violets." In accordance 
with previous experience marked utterances of 
this kind might be expected to have reference 
to a cross-correspondence. In fact, on the same 
day about the same time Mrs. Verrall wrote 
automatically : 

" With violet buds their heads were crowned, 

" Violaceae odores. 

" Violet and olive leaf purple and hoary. 

" The city of the violet " 

It is hardly necessary to emphasize here the 
marked way in which the word violet is stressed. 
The whole script seems really to be simply built 
up round this word. (This example is taken 
from A. Hude's " The Evidence, etc.," p. 283). 

To conclude with an example in which several 


days elapsed between the cross-correspondence. 

On April 8 the Myers' personality speaking 
through Mrs. Piper, said to Mrs. Sidgwick : 
" Do you remember Euripides ? " " Do you 
remember Spirit and Angel ? I gave both. 
Nearly all the words I have written to-day refer 
to messages I am trying to give through Mrs. 

V ." Mrs. Verrall had already on March 7 

done a long piece of automatic writing in which 
the word " Hercules Furens," and " Euripides " 
are found. 

And on March 25 she had written : " The 
Hercules play comes in there, and the clue is in 
the Euripides play if you could see it." Also 
she wrote on the same day a separate piece of 
script in which the word " shadow " occurred 
several times : " Let Piddington know when 
you get a message about shadow. The shadow 
of a shade. That is better umbrarum umbras 
(TKtas eitaXov was what I wanted to get written." 
The word " spirit," however, was not used. On 
April 3 an effort was clearly made to reach a 
satisfactory conclusion, although the word 
" Angel " could not be reached. " Flaming 
swords wings or feathered wings come in 
somewhere Try pinions of desire. The wings 
of Icarus Lost Paradise regained his flame-clad 
messengers (she draws an angel with wings) that 
is better F W H M has sent the message through 
at last." 


The cross-correspondence, moreover, was ex- 
tended to include Mrs. Holland. On April 16 
she wrote automatically a passage in which were 
found these words : " Lucus Margaret To fly 
to find Euripides Philemon." The names Lucus 
and Philemon seem to be derived from Browning's 
translations of Euripides' Hercules Furens. 
(A. Hude, p. 285). 

Many other cross-correspondences, some of 
them extremely striking ones, cannot be quoted 
here because of their complexity and of the space 
which they require for interpretation and com- 
ment. The peculiarity of the cross-correspon- 
dences from English sources is that they are 
mostly of an especially contorted kind. Some 
French cross-correspondence to which I am 
unable to refer, are (as I am told) much easier 
to see through. (G. Geley, " Contribution & 
Petude des Correspondances Croisees." Docu- 
ments nouveaux, Paris, 1914). 



Physical Mediumsbip 

ANEW group of phenomena which is now to 
be examined, and which is quite distinct 
from those just discussed, upsets our tradi- 
tional conceptions still more completely. I refer 
to the so-called physical manifestations of Medium- 
ship. They also like the phenomena already 
described, are not found for the first time in the 
surroundings only of modern occultism. We 
already find descriptions of such phenomena in 
ancient literature for instance, in Josephus. 
The account of Christ's " walking on the sea " 
must be included in this category, together 
with the legends of the middle-ages describing 
the appearances of persons floating in mid-air 
wrapt in ecstasy. Similar cases are also to be 
found amongst primitive men and savages. 

It stands to reason that we are much more 
suspicious of physical phenomena than of the 
purely psychic. The stability of our conventional 
scientific conception of the universe appears 
possibly erroneously to be much more seriously 
jeopardized by them than by new facts of 



conscious life. Consequently our instinctive op- 
position to the recognition of abnormal physical 
phenomena is far stronger than it is to that of 
psychic supernormal phenomena. Only two of 
the older mediums connected with such mani- 
festations are still remembered in the present 
generation, and even so, they are remembered, 
not so much for the singularity of their pheno- 
mena, as for the reason that the phenomena were 
vouched for as real by scientific investigators of 
the highest standard. 

One of these mediums was Slade, an American. 
The astro-physicist, C. F. Zoellner, spent much 
time in experimenting with him, and was helped 
upon occasion by scientific friends such as 
Wilhelm Weber and Fechner. Both these 
scientists declared themselves convinced of the 
reality of the phenomena as recorded by Zoellner. 
Unfortunately the plan conceived by the astro- 
physicist Vogel was never put into execution. 
He intended to hide in a cupboard and watch 
Slade closely through a hole in it. On the other 
hand, we have a report by Dessoirs on sittings 
with Slade, in which he states that he was fully 
convinced of the objectivity of the manifestations. 
These were very varied in character. For 
instance, Zoellner is stated to have taken two 
slates, and, after putting a little slate-pencil 
between them, to have tied them tightly together 
with string. When Slade then held them under 


the table in the presence of the sitters, a curious 
scraping sound was heard. He then moved the 
package from beneath the table, and after loosen- 
ing the string, writing was found on the slates. 
In other similar experiments, it was stated that on 
a soot-covered surface the imprint of a bare, 
or only partly, clothed human foot appeared, 
differing in size to that of Blade's. Moreover, 
Slade did not always hold the slates himself, and 
this fact is confirmed by Dessoir. 

Other tests consisted, according to Zoellner, 
in abstracting certain articles from locked, un- 
opened receptacles, or again replacing them 
there. Then knots were tied in a string of which 
both ends had first been sealed together, and 
finally Zoellner describes how two wooden rings, 
each turned from a single piece of wood, were 
placed by Slade round the foot of a centre table 
without unscrewing the top, which was balanced 
on a column ending in three legs, none of which 
also were unscrewed. All these assertions are 
illustrated with photographs, which Zoellner 
prints in his report. 

The objections made against Zoellner 's reports 
from the present-day standpoint are based, in the 
first place, on the absence of any minutes of the 
experiments a> most regrettable omission ; and 
next, on the supposition that sufficient care was 
not taken to prevent deception on Slade's part. 
For instance, Slade may have had an opportunity 


of abstracting the string with seals attached, and 
substituting for it at the next sitting a second 
sealed string with knots in it. Again, with 
regard to the slates : Zoellner has been blamed 
for not taking sufficient precautions to make an 
exchange impossible, or to prevent the knots 
being loosened sufficiently to introduce some 
sharp, thin object between the slates with which 
written characters might have been traced. 
These explanations are not, however, applicable 
when it becomes a question of emptying sealed 
boxes; still less so when it comes to placing 
wooden rings round the legs of a table. It is a 
significant sign of the weakness of the criticisms 
against Zoellner, that no reference is made to 
the facts which are hardest to account for. 

I have often made vain attempts to discover 
whether the table with the ring still exists. A 
relative of Zoellner, his eminent biographer, Fr. 
Koerber, my former mathematics master at my 
" Gymnasium," could only tell me that the 
table still existed up to a short time ago, but as 
he could not indicate its present whereabouts it 
has not been possible for me to ascertain whether 
the ring actually did only consist of one piece ; 
also, the exact details of the construction of the 
table, whether the top was easily removable, etc. 
In my opinion there is only one possibility of 
fraud with regard to the table experiment : that 
Slade hypnotized Zoellner, who was alone with 


him when the feat was accomplished, unscrewed 
the top, placed the ring round the foot, and then 
awakened Zoellner, possibly under the influence 
of the definite suggestion that the latter should 
not remember anything that had taken place. 
Given such conditions he would indeed have had 
the opportunity of carrying out the most astound- 
ing feats. But if this explanation is approved 
with regard to the table experiment, it would 
also apply to all the others ; and upon this view 
none of the tests described by Zoellner, and of 
which he was the sole observer, can be looked 
upon as conclusive. The only question is whether 
such an explanation is acceptable. 

Tp answer this question in the affirmative is 
made extremely difficult by the facts that, in the 
first place, the wooden rings were suspended on 
a sealed cord ; that guests were waiting in the 
adjoining room, and that, according to Zoellner, 
the whole proceedings did not last more than 
five minutes. Consequently, Slade must either 
have replaced the cord, on which another ring 
was also suspended, by one exactly similar, or 
renewed the seals with Zoellner's cipher or a 
facsimile thereof. 

Again, what view are we to take with regard 
to those cases where there were other witnesses, 
such as Weber, Fechner, Wach, etc. ? Here we 
are bound to admit that so far no precedent has 
been found whereby it has been proved possible 


to put the company present, consisting of several 
individuals, into a hypnotic state so easily without 
their consent, as must (it is necessary to assume) 
have here been the case. It could only be done 
by telepathic suggestion. This has been proved 
to be possible in some instances, but only in 
connexion with individuals who had already been 
under the hypnotic influence of the " suggestor," 
or, in the case where both persons showed signs 
of parapsychic structure. Upon this view, then, 
a parapsychic phenomenon at any rate took 
place. Attempts have also been made to suggest 
that reputed performances of Indian Fakirs, who, 
in the sight of many spectators, claim to throw a 
rope into the air, and make a boy climb up and 
disappear with it, are the result of mass hal- 
lucination produced by telepathic suggestion. 
It must, however, not be forgotten that this, too, 
is but a hypothesis, and that a hypothesis is not 
strengthened by being applied to many cases 
instead of limited to one. 

Zoellner's reports have repeatedly been sum- 
marily dismissed on the ground that Slade was 
" as all the world knows " discovered cheating 
in America. But this rumour still lacks con- 
firmation. Koerber made every effort to clear 
this matter up, but was unable to procure more 
definite information. It is, therefore, not justi- 
fiable to regard it as an established fact that Slade 
was a cheat. On the other hand, there is the 


highly suspicious circumstances that at a sitting 
with Slade in London, a slate which was supposed 
to have nothing on it was found to have had 
letters already written on it, when it was forcibly 
snatched away from him a moment or so after 
he had held it under the table. 

Unfortunately, Helmholtz refused to examine 
Slade, despite repeated invitations to do so. His 
testimony would have been of the greatest value, 
and the case of Slade would be much the clearer 
for it to-day. As it is, we only know that 
Helmholtz's opinion a priori was that it was all 
a fraud, though a priori judgments have no 
significance so far as science and psychology are 
concerned. The case of Zoellner-Slade must 
in consequence be left in suspense. But what- 
ever one's opinion may be, the brilliancy and 
interest of Zoellner's theoretic interpretation 
of the experimental results, based on the hypo- 
thesis of the Fourth Dimension, which he con- 
sidered proved, remain unimpaired. Its sim- 
plicity savours of genius. 

The experiments of the physicist Crookes 
made less of a stir in Germany than in England. 
He believed he had established the fact that the 
medium, Home, was able at will to decrease or 
increase his weight. And in the case of another 
medium, Florence Cook, he even claimed to have 
observed and photographed genuine materializa- 
tions (Katie King). Unfortunately the experi- 


ments with Home were not repeated by anyone 
at the time, despite their great interest, and the 
comparative ease with which they might have 
been carried out. Quite recently, a young 
Berlin engineer, Grunewald, is said to have 
achieved the same result with another medium, 
though this has not yet been verified. 

Some years after Slade, Home, and Florence 
Cook had been forgotten, a new medium began 
to awaken the interest of the European spiritualist 
world Eusapia Palladino. Her fame remained 
undiminished to the day of her death. Dragged 
through all Europe and half America, surrounded 
by a galaxy of savants and dillettanti, she has 
been the theme of a whole literature in every 
civilized land. And yet, no complete unanimity 
appears to exist even to-day between the different 
observers. Opinions are not only divided as to 
how far the phenomena were genuine, but also 
as to whether the whole thing was or was not 
a fraud. All the same, it is only fair to say that all 
those who observed her for any consecutive length 
of time are agreed that the major part, and par- 
ticularly the most striking of her phenomena, 
were genuine. It is due to this circum- 
stance that the case is of such surpassing 

Eusapia Palladino was born in 1854 ^ n a 8ma ^ 
village in the Abruzzi Mountains the only child 
of an inn-keeper. Her mother died at her birth, 


and when she was eight years old she also lost her 
father, who was murdered by brigands. Eusapia 
was put in charge of her grandmother, who 
brutally ill-treated her. Later on she became a 
sempstress. After her marriage she gradually 
relinquished her former occupation for that of a 
professional medium. 

I do not know what her regular income was, 
but she was repeatedly invited to undertake 
lengthy journeys to Munich, Paris, London, 
Petrograd, and she also gave sittings in America. 
She died in Naples in 1918, a great loss to 
psychic research. Her medial faculties are said 
to have developed during her puberty. Between 
the age of 13-14 she first saw visions, and objects 
are said to have been moved in her presence 
without her touching them. 

Her temperament and this is borne out by 
her portraits is said to have been joyous, gre- 
garious and inclined to emotionalism. She had 
no schooling whatever, and could hardly write 
her name. Nevertheless she was gifted with 
great natural intelligence, and evinced great 
knowledge of character in her intercourse with 
the people with whom she came in contact. In 
this respect she showed faculties which it is 
preferable not to find in a medium. To get a 
sitting with her does not seem to have been too 
easy. She was fully aware of the part she played 
in the world. " E una Palladino," she was wont 


to say of herself , "and she insisted on being 
treated as a great lady in spite of her want of 
culture. She did not always submit to the 
conditions of control to which attempts were 
made to subject her, but sometimes autocratic- 
ally imposed her will with regard to the manner 
in which she wished the sitting to be held. For 
this reason, sittings with her were more often 
confined to mere observations than devoted to 
actual experiments. For, whenever pressure was 
put upon her or she was contradicted however 
substantial or well-considered the reason might 
be the investigator took the risk of having the 
sitting abruptly broken off, and the case was of 
such interest, and as a rule so much expense had 
been incurred in obtaining the phenomena at all, 
that it was usually preferable to be content with 
mere observation, as soon as Eusapia began to 
remonstrate. The impression left by her own 
high opinion of herself was counterbalanced by 
her kind-heartedness. Her own early fate, at 
the remembrance of which she often shed tears, 
made her charitable, particularly to orphans. 
Having been given the choice of a present, at a 
sitting one day, she begged for an artificial limb 
for a child whose own was about to be amputated. 
She avoided solitude, and loved to have company 
around her always, as she was often made uneasy 
by her own phenomena. She was in actual fear 
of darkness, and always kept a night-light burning ; 


she even preferred not to have all the lights 
extinguished during the sittings. 

Though other mediums, of whom there are 
similar reports, such as Mdme. d'Esperance, Frau 
Pribytkoff, etc., never, or but rarely, emerged 
from the spiritistic sphere in which they had 
been discovered and which they looked upon as 
their spiritual home, Eusapia Palladino was 
examined by a considerable number of scientists 
in whose rank, Germans were but sparsely repre- 

The examinations carried out in 1905-08 in 
Paris at the Institut General Psychologique 
were distinguished by the presence of the great 
number of eminent investigators who took part 
in them. The report published by Courtier, 
Professor of Psychology at the Sorbonne, re- 
peatedly mentions the names of Perrin, Poincare, 
Curie, Bergson. The investigations (there were 
forty-three sittings in all) were conducted 
in the manner usual, not only with Eusapia, 
but also with other psychical mediums. 
A corner of the room was partitioned off 
from the rest by a black curtain fixed with 
metal rings to a pole. Eusapia sat just in 
front of the centre of the curtain behind a 
table, with a sitter on either side of her who had 
instructions to watch her hands and feet. They 
were each told to hold her hand preferably by 
the thumb and to place their left on her right 



foot and their right on her left foot respectively. 
Unfortunately, it was she who often placed her 
own foot on that of the observer. Then, a so- 
called " chain " was formed by all the participants 
of the seance by joining hands right and left 
round the table. Eusapia refused to be bound, 
no matter how lightly, as she declared that this 
reminded her of a lunatic asylum, and gave her 
the feeling of being mentally afflicted and forcibly 
tied down. Neither would she permit any flash- 
light photographs, though as a matter of fact the 
lights were said to have been so bright at times, 
that it would have been possible to read by them. 
In the interior of the cabinet, behind the curtain, 
was a light table for bric-ci-brac, some smoke- 
blackened articles or papers, a jar filled with 
modelling clay or putty, and a zither. 

The sittings usually started in a bright light 
which gradually was made fainter. According to 
the minutes, the manifestations began with various 
sounds of unknown origin on the table raps 
as if by a finger, scraping as by a nail, etc. As 
the lights grew fainter, the objects in Eusapia's 
vicinity began to move about spontaneously. 
The table rose (" levitations ") and the various 
objects in the cabinet were heard to change place. 
With a still dimmer light, it is asserted that 
vague outlines of hands and other parts of the 
human body, such as a head and bust, became 
visible near Eusapia, appearing through the 


central and side folds of the curtain. Brilliant 
dots or sparks resembling electricity were some- 
times seen. A phenomenon which often recurred 
was that the curtain behind and next to Eusapia 
billowed out, and to the touch felt as if it was 
pushed forward by something tangible. Pheno- 
mena of other description were also reported by 
the observers. Equally remarkable were the 
imprints left upon the modelling clay, for instance 
of human veil-covered hands, greatly resembling 
those of Eusapia, or occasionally of a human face. 
Part of the records were obtained by a register- 
ing apparatus, but the most important are based 
on the evidence of the sitters. The report of 
the result of the investigations is summarized in 
the ten following points : 

{i) Displacements (backwards or forwards) and 
the (complete or partial) levitation of certain 
heavy objects (ordinary small tables) in Eusapia's 
vicinity were evidenced by registering apparatus. 

(2) Some of the said movements of objects 
appear to have been caused by the mere touch 
of the hands or clothes of the medium, and 
even without her touching them at all. During 
the complete levitation of the table before which 
she sat, or of the smaller table placed near her, 
her muscles were strongly contracted. But she 
did not seem to will to elevate the objects in the 
same way that we ordinarily will things. 

(3) The supporting point of the force which 


raised the objects seemed to be centred in the 
medium, as the scales on which she was placed 
during the elevations marked an increase and 
decrease in weight which corresponded to the 
laws of mechanics. 

(4) It was shown that she could discharge 
electroscopes from a distance. 

(5) It was shown that she could cause mole- 
cular oscillations from a distance (rapping, sound- 

(6) Lights of unexplained origin were seen 
near the medium during the sittings. Some of 
these phenomena were like electric sparks. 

(7) Those present said that they observed 
human forms and felt themselves touched. But 
it must also be noted that fraud has been proved 
with regard to some manifestations of this kind. 

(8) In the course of some of the sittings, 
Eusapia passed into a secondary condition of an 
unstable type. She complained of hyperaes- 
thesia to the touch during the greater part of the 
sittings, and for some time after them also. She 
complained further of partial amnesia with regard 
to the seance phenomena. 

(9) The ideas and the will of Eusapia influenced 
the nature and the course of the phenomena. 

(10) Fraud was possible, but to what extent 
it was practised is hard to determine. 

This brief synopsis can certainly not take the 
place of the detailed report in the original. But 


it proves conclusively that the above-mentioned 
eminent investigators, who had Eusapia again 
and again under their observations were con- 
vinced of the objectivity of part of the phenomena. 
Their testimony is naturally of far greater value 
than the judgment of some obscure minor 
scientist of Frankfort or elsewhere, who delivers 
judgment on Eusapia without personal ex- 

On the other hand, according to Courtier's 
report, any conclusions about Eusapia are neces- 
sarily to some extent vitiated by the certainty 
that some of her manipulations were fraudulent. 
On one occasion, shortly before a sitting, she was 
seen tampering with a pair of scales, which she 
was manipulating with the aid of a white hair. 
On another, a little nail fell to the ground, 
apparently from Eusapia's left hand, who evinced 
great surprise. The nail could be used to make 
marks on blackened paper similar to those found 
at the sittings. In the total darkness of one of 
the seances, while the sitters felt various touches, 
Eusapia freed her hand with lightning speed 
from that of Courtier, and immediately after, 
as Courtier recovered from his surprise, Eusapia's 
hand lay once again in his. In short, there is 
not the slightest doubt that she practised fraud, 
a fact of which other investigators were also 
convinced. At the first investigations under- 
taken by the British Society for Psychical Re- 


search, who make a rule of never continuing 
experiments with a medium convicted of fraud, 
the investigations with Eusapia were abandoned 
on that ground. The only surprising part 
consists in the repeated assertions of investigators 
that Eusapia's deception was of so childish a 
nature that it could not be taken seriously, when 
we have regard to her intelligence, and remember 
that phenomena often occurred at the same time 
which could not possibly be due to fraud. True, 
such phenomena always took place in Eusapia's 
immediate vicinity. Once during the Paris 
seances, when a flashlight photograph was taken 
of her against her will, it showed her with an 
extremely crafty expression. And yet these 
incriminating circumstances are again outweighed 
by others of such importance that scepticism 
must of necessity cease. Thus the Paris report : 
" Eusapia made a movement of her hand, and 
the zither sounded from within the cabinet. 
Eusapia scratched the hand of M. d'Arsonval 
with hers, and again the zither was heard, as 
though plucked by fingers." " Another time 
a small board which had been nailed to an inner 
corner of cabinet was torn from its founda- 
tion." Many far heavier objects were moved, 
lifted and transported, for instance : a stool was 
raised one metre high, and a dish full of putty 
placed on top of it. This stool stood in the 
cabinet, and through a gap in the curtain it 


was seen to advance and retreat several times. 
The wish was expressed that the dish with putty 
should be lifted on to the table. Eusapia 
requested that all should concentrate their will 
on this idea and it would be realized, and realized 
it was. The stool was then hoisted on to 
Monsieur Curie's shoulder. The receptacle with 
the putty weighed seven kilos, and it took con- 
siderable strength to lift and hold with one hand. 
The dish was 30 cm. long and 24 cm. wide 
(Controllers left : Mr. Komyakoff ; right : Mr. 
Curie)." " She was able to depress a letter- 
weight in full light without touching it ; but 
when the scales was placed under glass so that 
Eusapia could not possibly touch them with a 
thread, they did not move. On the other hand, 
the balance was again depressed after the glass 
cover had been removed under conditions of 
observation which certainly seemed quite ade- 
quate. Her hands lay to the right and left of 
the scales ; on lowering them the scales sank in 

We ask in vain how such phenomena could 
have been achieved by fraud, without detection 
by the sitters. This explains how it was that the 
Society of Psychical Research made an exception 
in the case of Eusapia, and arranged for a renewed 
examination of the medium through several 
of its most experienced members in Naples* 
These investigators were convinced of the 


genuineness of the phenomena, Carrington among 
them, who was so well known for having shewn 
up innumerable pseudo-mediums. 

I exclude the reports of Lombroso and 
Flammarion from the others. The latter may 
be called a Visionary; and in many of the 
works of Lombroso, particularly in his book 
on Genius, inaccuracy and superficiality are so 
conspicuous, that he must be taken with a certain 
reserve. But there are still the experiments 
made by Botazzi in Naples, who was the 
Professor of Physiology at that University, and 
who collaborated with five other professors at 
the university and polytechnic. According to 
this report, the reality of the phenomena was 
definitely proved under good conditions ; for 
instance : " Both of us, Mr, Scarssa (Lecturer of 
Physics at Naples University) and I, kept our eyes 
fixed on the mandoline, and we can definitely 
assert that the instrument, clearly illuminated by 
the lamp above it, was not touched by the 
visible hands of Eusapia. The latter was sixty 
cms. away from it, but the mandoline moved as 
though set in motion by magic. It is impossible 
to describe the impression made by the sight 
of an inanimate object moving in dead silence, 
not only for a second, but for several minutes, 
without being touched by anyone, under the 
compulsion of a mysterious force, among other 
inanimate objects." 


On another occasion, Botazzi (who weighed 
eighty-nine kilos) was propelled along the ground 
with the chair on which he was seated. 

During a sitting in Munich, at Schrenck- 
Notzing's house, the table before which Eusapia 
sat was elevated, while her right hand was con- 
trolled by Professor G., and her left by Dr. 
Albrecht, while Schrenck-Notzing lay under the 
table in order to keep her legs and feet under 
observation. Another time there was even a 
lamp under the table. At a seance at Rome, 
while the hands of the medium were controlled 
by the physiologist Professor Luciani and the 
alienist Sante de Santis, the curtain of the cabinet 
behind Eusapia was inflated some twenty times 
in succession. It was possible to touch the 
curtain, lift it up and also put one's hand between 
Eusapia and the curtain. And when, in the 
course of independent experiments connected 
with active telekinesis the light was suddenly 
switched on, Eusapia was discovered to be in a 
deep trance, her hands held by her neighbours. 

Flournoy reports further : " It is to Richet 
that I am indebted for the privilege of having 
taken part in several seances with Eusapia 
Palladino last year (1898). The conditions of 
control then were such that there is no room for 
doubt, unless we are to distrust the combined 
testimony of sight, hearing and touch, as well 
as that modicum of critical sense and astuteness, 


in the possession of which every person of ordinary 
intelligence prides himself. The only other 
alternative is to assume that there were secret 
doors in the walls of Richet's work-room, and 
that he, together with his learned assistants, were 
the wicked aiders and abettors in the farce enacted 
by this charming Neapolitan lady." 

According to the material at my disposal, the 
following university professors, among others, 
made experiments with her : the physiologists 
Richet (Paris), Luciani (Rome), Botazzi (Naples), 
the alienists and neurologists Sante de Santis 
(Rome), Morselli (Genoa), Lombroso (Turin), the 
anatomist Pio Foa (Turin), the scientists M. and 
Mdme. Curie, Perrin, Poincare (Paris), the 
astronomers Schiaparelli (Milan), Flammarion 
(Paris), the psychologists and philosophers 
Courtier and Bergson (Paris), Flournoy (Geneva). 
All these investigators are convinced of the 
genuine nature of certain supernormal pheno- 
mena as demonstrated by Eusapia Palladmo. 
Is there really any sense from a scientific point 
of view in those who have not been observers 
persisting in face of this evidence in considering 
the non-existence of the phenomena in question 
as more probable than their objectivity ? 

Only those investigators who casually attended 
only one or two sittings as, for instance, Dessoir, 
Lipps, Munsterberg, Moll, were still sceptical. 
But their evidence that of Dessoir is very 


shaky is of little importance, as their investiga- 
tions were very slight in comparison with those 
of investigators who were able to follow the case 
at length and in detail. 

It should also be noted that Eusapia's 
mediumistic faculties were obviously variable. 
The same English investigators, who, in 1908, 
came to positive conclusions, were present at 
various quite negative sittings in 1910 in Naples, 
in which Eusapia did nothing but cheat. This 
circumstance really is in favour of the justice and 
objectivity of their first report. 

Those who put the whole thing down to fraud 
support their case by the outcome of two 
American seances. At one of them, Munster- 
berg arranged that some one should crawl along 
the floor towards Eusapia without her knowledge, 
and seize hold of her suddenly in the darkness 
during the seance. This resulted in an ear- 
piercing scream from Eusapia and the abrupt 
breaking-off of the sitting. The person under 
the table declared that he had seized " an unshod 
foot." When the light was turned on, Eusapia 
was seen to be fully clothed. During another 
sitting with Professor Lord at Columbia Univer- 
sity, two observers claim to have noticed how the 
objects in the cabinet were set in motion by 
Eusapia herself, who had managed to free one 
foot from control. 

Important though these assertions may be, 


they do not explain the Paris observations, as 
well as many others, and the uncertainty is 
increased by the divergent opinions of the 
conjurers who were consulted. An English 
conjurer declared that Eusapia's manifestations 
were absolutely genuine, and that certainly 
could not be reproduced by conjuring. On 
the other hand, two of his American colleagues 
pronounced very unfavourably against them, 
and insisted that her performances were all 
faked. The point argued by Eusapia's partisans 
is that, like all mediums, she was greatly irritated 
by the ostentatious display of mistrust, which 
caused a considerable diminution of her psychic 
faculties, and it is also emphasized that she was 
never equally consistent in her performances. 

Another American investigation undertaken 
at Columbia University can also be set against 
the arguments of Munsterberg and Lord. An 
onlooker was able to watch the whole time 
through a hole in the top of the cabinet, and so 
discover whether Eusapia moved the objects 
contained therein by means of a hook or other 
fraudulent contrivances. His report is that 
at every sitting a new organic member a 
pseudopodium appeared from under the curtain 
behind the back of Eusapia with the aid of which 
apparently the mechanical effects were produced. 
But similar reports also had already been pub- 
lished during the 'nineties concerning the pseu- 


dopodia which apparently emanated f romEusapia's 
body. Consequently those who are opposed to 
the theory of fraud insist that in the case of the 
Munsterberg exposure, the foot was not 
Eusapia's own, but a pseudopodium. 

These observations which until lately seemed 
highly problematical, and more or less a subter- 
fuge, have received further support in the con- 
clusions arrived at quite recently by the English 
physicist, Crawford, by Ochorowicz, late pro- 
fessor of philosophy in Warsaw, and by Schrenck- 
Notzing. Crawford declares that in the case 
of an Irish medium, he has repeatedly proved the 
presence of certain " rod-like " projections of 
varied lengths and thicknesses which, though 
invisible, were perceptible to the touch and felt 
cold, sticky, and like reptiles. Schrenck-Notzing 
and Ochorowicz were able, in the case of another 
medium, to photograph similar projections on 
some occasions, though on others they remained 
invisible. Thus, another explanation of the 
cases where Eusapia was charged with the 
fraudulent manipulation of what looked like 
threads, might lie in the assumption that 
these were actually composed of fine organic 

The telekinetic movement of objects, the 
levitations, as well as the strange touches ex- 
perienced by the sitters, particularly in the dark, 
are said to be produced by these pseudopodia ; 


they are able to become quite rigid, and by a 
purely mechanical process fasten themselves on 
to the objects moved. During levitations 
accordingly the weight of the medium is in- 
variably increased by that of the objects raised 
by the pseudopodia, as has been repeatedly estab- 

Upon this hypothesis there is no question of 
the direct working of the mind of the medium 
upon distant things, and if the working of her 
mind is regarded as confined to her own organism, 
physical mediumistic phenomena are easier than 
formerly to fit into our normal conception of the 
universe. Distant objects may be treated as set 
in motion by means of pseudopodia, which 
themselves behave in a quite normal mechanical 
manner. The problems of telekinesis and 
levitation is thus relegated almost entirely to 
the organic sphere, in so far as the so-called 
pseudopodia are of organic nature. The observa- 
tions of the above-mentioned investigators are, 
when taken in conjunction with those of older 
date, of such a momentous character that it 
becomes imperative to verify them still further 
objectively. We are possibly confronted by an 
entirely new category of psycho-physical pheno- 
mena, which makes the dependence of material 
or semi-material events upon the action of the 
mind far greater than was ever dreamed of in the 
past. Though even so, I should like to remark 


that the theory of pseudopodia does not in all 
cases suffice. 

It is noteworthy that the medium possesses 
the sensation of touch through the pseudopodia. 
It is from them that Eusapia derived her power 
of perception. Innumerable references in the 
reports of Botazzi and others indicate that she 
knew when she moved an object at a distance or 
made an impression on clay. It is therefore no 
proof that she was cheating because she emitted 
a piercing scream when her foot or the pseudo- 
podium's was seized ; it is equally possible that 
she actually did feel the pain of the vigorous 
grasp on the foot and Crawford with his medium 
claims to have shown that this is true. 

It is still quite uncertain of what substance the 
curious efflorescences are composed and how they 
are actually formed. The main difficulty con- 
sists in the fact that the pseudopodia are able 
partly to penetrate clothing. An analogy to 
their power of becoming stiff might be found in 
the sexual organs of mammalia. 

But when all is said, the mind of the medium 
is still apparently the deciding factor the sole 
means through which all the strange phenomena 
of physical mediumship are evolved. In some 
cases this fact stands clearly out and Eusapia 
herself was conscious of it. In such cases she 
could predict what was going to happen. For 
instance she made a gesture of striking or twanging 


strings, and the sound of rapping or of the 
mandoline was heard. Botazzi paid particular 
attention to these connexions, though reference 
thereto is also found elsewhere. It must remain 
an open question whether conscious mental 
processes in all cases so far as Eusapia was con- 
cerned preceded the phenomena, but it is obvious 
that normal ideas, thoughts, and acts of will, etc., 
cannot alone produce these remarkable effects. 
There must be also other conditions still unknown 
to us which have to be fulfilled. To invoke the 
" subconsciousness " of Eusapia as the deciding 
factor, is to make use of an entirely insufficient 
conception. Subconscious processes have no 
more influence on material things than conscious 
ones, and if these other unknown conditions 
were unfulfilled, the subconscious processes would 
have no more effect in Eusapia's case than with 
other people. The real motive for coming back 
to the explanation of the " subconscious " lies 
in the assumption that the actual " vital factors " 
which differentiate organisms from purely 
physico-chemical formations, are not to be 
found in special independent faculties of any 
land, but are to be identified with the un- 
conscious acts of the soul itself. If, therefore, 
there are unconscious mental processes which 
build up the organism by their influence upon 
inorganic processes, the inference is that the 
efflorescences, pseudopodia, etc., are constructed 


by similar, or at any rate, similarly unconscious 
acts of the mind. This assumption may be 
correct, yet these temporary limbs, as well as 
our ordinary members, appear to be nothing but 
the tools used by the ego in its conscious acts. 
rr he fact that Eusapia was able to determine in 
advance the nature of the phenomena and rap 
out a given number of knocks on the table in the 
cabinet in accordance with the wish of a sitter, 
does not alter the explanation. It is of no matter 
whether we are concerned with genuine mani- 
festations of will power or not. Eusapia denied 
it and we cannot disprove her denial. As a 
matter of fact, however, there are many happen- 
ings which seem to be the result of the will and 
yet are not so. For instance some people perspire 
with supernormal facility ; they are able by 
concentrating their minds on perspiration to 
produce drops of sweat on the palm of their 
hand, and yet this cannot properly be called the 
result of an act of will. The solution of the 
physical phenomena of mediumship will possibly 
be found in studying such cases. 

The outward form in which the psycho- 
physical phenomena were produced by Eusapia 
was spiritistic. She^ herself was convinced of 
the truth of spiritism and ascribed the phenomena 
to a certain spirit, " John King." In certain 
cases he " controlled " her and spoke through her 
in a voice somewhat altered from her usual one. 


Eusapia also upon occasions produced inspira- 
tional phenomena. As, however, all the attention 
of the investigators was invariably focussed on 
the physical phenomena, the reports regarding 
Eusapia's psychic condition are unfortunately 
rare, and I have not been able to obtain an 
accurate account of the changes which took 
place in her personal condition. As she was 
very uneducated and certainly had no original 
tendency to introspective self-analysis, even were 
she still alive, there would be but small hope of 
getting more precise particulars of how she 
perceived and felt things from her own (sub- 
jective) point of view. And even so, whatever 
might have been possible, her character was not 
such that we should have been able to rely very 
much upon her word. 



/TT^HE phenomena of telekinesis mostly 
I found in the case of Eusapia Palladino 
are not the most striking manifestations 
of which physical mediums are capable. Another 
group, which even two years ago seemed to me 
quite incredible, consists in Processes of Materiali- 
zation. In this group are comprised those cases 
where, in the presence of a medium, formations 
of material or semi-material nature are pro- 
duced in the shape of organic or semi-organic 
structures of a supernormal kind. Such pheno- 
mena were numerous in the case of Eusapia 
Palladino also. 

The problem of mediumistic materializations 
has again come to the front, by reason of the 
publication of Schrenck-Notzing's book on 
" teleplastic " materialization processes in the 
case of a French medium, Eva C. A parallel, 
and almost as voluminous a publication was 
issued simultaneously by a French lady, Mme. 
Alexandre Bisson, in whose house the medium 
lives, and who has apparently constituted herself 
the latter's psychological impresario, inasmuch 



as the organization and supervision of Eva C.'s 
trances remain nearly always entirely in her 

The phenomena of Eva C., according to the 
reports of the two authors whom for the 
moment we take as our authority consist in a 
quasi-organic substance extruded from her or- 
ganism generally through the mouth capable 
of independent movements in the form of strange 
shapes. These shapes sometimes resemble parts 
of the human body, though more frequently 
they take the form of human faces or figures 
enveloped in floating veils. The shapes are then 
said to dissolve before the eyes of the spectator . . . 
that is to say, to re-enter the organism of the 

The flat surface of these formations is their 
oddest characteristic. The hand which purports 
to be materialized looks like a fake ; the faces or 
figures seem to be cut out of paper and sub- 
sequently veiled. Sometimes it looks as though 
there were actual folds and wrinkles in the paper 
itself. I found this impression confirmed by my 
examination of the stereoscopic prints kindly 
forwarded to me by Schrenck-Notzing. Nobody 
who looks at these pictures without further 
explanation could think that they are anything 
else than drawings on paper or material, possibly 
sketches from illustrated papers brought with her 
by Eva C. ; yet this hypothesis is denied both by 


Schrenck-Notzing and Mme. Bisson. According 
to the former, Eva C., at each seance was clad 
in tights which he had bought himself and^into 
which she was sewn ; furthermore, she was 
carefully searched each time from head to foot, 
to preclude the possibility of any objects being 
smuggled in hair, ears, mouth in fact, her 
whole body was examined. She was also sub- 
mitted to a gynaecological examination. Some- 
times she was even entirely unclothed during 
the seance. The cabinet, too, was overhauled 
before and after the sittings. In addition to 
this, very important phenomena and spontaneous 
movements of the " teleplastic " substance and 
of the materializations have been observed with 
the curtains open. 

Two doctors Gulat-Wellenberg and Mathilde 
von Kemnitz set up the " Rumination Hypo- 
thesis." According to this, Eva C. be- 
longed to those rare people who are not only 
able to swallow objects whole, but also to bring 
them up again when they want to do so. Thus, 
she might have smuggled portraits painted on 
muslin into her oesophagus, and brought them 
up again during the seance, when her head was 
behind the curtain of the cabinet. Schrenck- 
Notzing's reply to, and criticism of, this theory, 
has so completely demolished it, that there is no 
real necessity for further discussion of it. He 
even examined the contents of the medium's 


stomach one day, and it is impossible to explain 
how Eva C., whose hands according to the 
reports were continuously under control, could 
have been able to unfold the tightly packed 
scraps of pictures which she is supposed to have 
brought up aga,fai, and finally drape them in 
veils. On the other hand, it would not be 
right to assert that Eva C. had no interest to 
tempt her to fraud, for this would not be in 
accordance with the real facts. For years she 
has lived in easy surroundings, as a guest in Mme. 
Bisson's house, where she feels herself to be the 
centre of interest to an ever-increasing scientific 
circle. This applies with equal force to Mme. 
Bisson, who has also been suspected by some 
people of being engaged in fraud. She it is who 
is usually responsible for the putting of Eva C. 
into a state of trance, and who generally controls 
and influences the medium. As Mme. Bisson's 
voluminous book on Eva C. was published 
simultaneously with that of Schrenck-Notzing, 
literary ambition and desire for notoriety may 
well be the explanation of her participating in a 
fraud. The only question is whether her 
character is such as to make it likely. Schrenck- 
Notzing, says it is not ; and mere suspicion is 
no proof. On the other hand, it may be that 
Schrenck-Notzing too, cannot be considered 
quite impartial. It is much more important 
to note that seances held in the absence of Mme. 


Bisson have been productive of positive results. 
It is all the more amazing though, that Mme. 
Bisson should not have insisted of her own accord 
on being subjected to the most searching investi- 
gations once suspicion against her was openly 
voiced though it is only fair to say that she has 
permitted a limited examination to be made of 
her person. 

So far, it is clear that the pros and cons are 
evenly balanced. The impression given by the 
innumerable photographs taken by Schre^k- 
Notzing and Mme. Bisson make us incline towards 
the theory of fraud, though on perusing Schrenck- 
Notzing's reports the scale tilts the other way. 
A definite decision is only possible if in the first 
place we make up our minds whether Eva C. 
was adequately controlled both before and during 
the seance, and secondly, whether Mme. Bisson 
had no opportunity for fraud, and was unable 
to pass on objects to Eva C. It is of lesser im- 
portance for the moment, to ascertain how much 
reliability can be placed in the reports and 
minutes of the sittings, as in this case the photo- 
graphs supply all requisite information. On the 
other hand these photographs cannot be taken 
as proofs of the objectivity of the phenomena, 
as they are only momentary reproductions, and 
there is no film which reproduces simultaneously 
the ejection of the substance from the body of 
Eva C., together with its spontaneous movement 


and the further phenomena. It must, however, 
be added that even if the physical control 
exercised over Eva C. were sufficiently strict, 
and Mme. Bisson is not a cheat, never was a 
medium subjected to so many precautions as 
was Eva C. by Schrenck-Notzing. A further 
point of great importance lies in the use of a 
number of cameras at the same time from different 
angles, and in the taking of stereoscopic prints. 

It is, of course, impossible to prove the ob- 
jectivity of the minutes of the sittings ; their 
importance depends on our opinion of Schrenck- 
Notzing. The fragmentary character of the 
notes is sometimes regrettable, but a change in 
this respect is hardly possible, in view of the 
suddenness and rapidity with which phenomena 

As I have already mentioned, the most pro- 
nounced characteristic of the actual phenomena, 
consists in their peculiar flatness ; but it is also 
noteworthy how clearly they^are dependent on 
the mind of the medium. It is as though these 
materializations were pictures of the imagination 
or of the memory, for in some cases they are 
strikingly like published photographs, and in 
one case even a few letters from the pages of a 
periodical were reproduced. This circumstance 
which so strongly favours the assumption of fraud 
might, if fraud is not at work, almost be regarded 
as proof that these materializations 1 are no more 


than some physically objective transformation of 
Eva C.'s memory pictures. 1 

Are there any other circumstances which 
might definitely influence judgment, either for 
or against ? 

As a matter of fact, these do exist as the result 
of the new investigations to which Eva C. has 
been subjected. She has since the first series of 
experiments been examined for a whole year in 
Paris, by a psychologist, Dr. Geley, at the rate 
of two sittings a week, the sittings taking place 
for three months in his own laboratory. As he 
was given the opportunity of lecturing on the 
subject in January, 1918, in the College de 
France, it is clear that in the philosophical and 
scientific circles of Paris he must be looked 
upon as a serious and reliable investigator. 

His observations sweepingly confirm the 
striking reports of Schrenck-Notzing. It even 
appears that the phenomena concerned had still 
further developed and were more easily observed. 
In his opinion fraud is not only highly improbable, 
but actually impossible, owing to the stringent 
conditions of supervision. " I do not say : * No 
fraud took place in these sittings, but there was 
no possible chance of its perpetration/ I cannot 
repeat this often enough : the materializations 
were invariably formed before my eyes ; I have 

1 Another possibility is that these pictures are conveyed to her 
telepathically from another source. 


observed their origin and development with my 
own eyes." And more than a hundred other 
men of science have had the opportunity of 
witnessing the same phenomena as well. Promi- 
nent among them are the names of Richet, 
Courtier, and Clarapede. 

It is of equal interest that Eva C. was examined 
by a Committee of the Society for Psychical 
Research in the spring of 1920. Not less than 
forty sittings took place. Of these a considerable 
number produced results. The conditions im- 
posed and the measures taken to control the 
examination were very strict. The conclusion 
of the committee was that upon the basis of 
their own observations they were unable to reach 
an absolutely positive decision ; but that if the 
earlier observations of Schrenck-Notzing, Mme. 
Bisson and Geley were brought into account, the 
verdict must be in favour of the genuineness of 
the phenomena. The phenomena observed were 
mostly similar to those previously observed by 
Schrenck-Notzing and Mme. Bisson, only smaller. 
This is shown by the photographs. Whilst the 
photographs of Schrenck-Notzing and Mme. 
Bisson often show heads as big as life, and some- 
times forms upon a scale larger than life, those of 
the committee are in all cases of quite small 
objects, apparently of the size of a few centi- 
metres only. In these circumstances the com- 
mittee was unable to come to a conclusion 


recognizing the phenomena as genuine without 
any reservations ; at least, the committee as a 
committee, was unable to do so unanimously. 
But it is clear, as is often the case with committees, 
that the final conclusion is a compromise. The 
final summing up especially is anything but 
consistent. It is balanced, very clearly, between 
recognition and non-recognition. The report 
has no reservations in its statement that there 
was upon no occasion any suspicion or trace of 
fraud. On the contrary, Eva C. made the control 
easy in every way, and never made difficulties. 
The control of the medium during the sittings 
was so good that it was completely impossible 
for her to have smuggled objects in with her to 
the sittings and then manipulated them with her 
hands. If fraud is still admitted to be possible, 
then the only possible explanation must lie in the 
regurgitation hypothesis. The phenomena were 
not big enough for the committee to be able to 
rule this hypothesis out altogether as impossible. 
Upon one occasion the " substance " coming out 
of the mouth of the medium forced its way 
through a veil which covered the head of the 
medium, and took a definite shape outside it. 
This shape was then dissolved, and the " sub- 
stance " retreated through the veil into the 
medium's mouth. It would, therefore, be 
necessary to assume upon the hypothesis of 
regurgitation that the medium had got posses- 


sion of a wax-like substance which could easily 
be melted and become hard again. Geley, in 
his acute criticism of the report, has rightly 
pointed out that it is quite impossible to believe 
that no trace of such a wax-like substance would 
have been left upon the veil. It is not, therefore, 
surprising to hear that Dingwell, when recently 
at Munich for the purpose of experiments with 
Schrenck-Notzing's medium, Willy Sch., de- 
clared that he only put forward the hypothesis 
of the existence of such a substance to make clear 
the complete absurdity of the whole explanation. 
This may remind us of Galileo's conduct when, 
considering that the time was not yet ripe for 
openly supporting the views of Copernicus, he 
composed a dialogue between supporters of the 
old and new point of view in which he allowed 
the supporters of the old view to prevail by the 
use of such contradictory arguments that every 
reader was inevitably convinced of the Tightness 
of the newer Copernican conceptions. 

Quite a number of the phenomena and the 
circumstances under which the sittings took 
place, make it very difficult to explain why the 
committee refused to come to a positive con- 
clusion in favour of genuineness, except by an 
instinctive disinclination on the part of the 
majority to allow anything to be accepted as 
proof, except perfectly obvious brute facts upon 
an overwhelming scale. 


This remainder of prejudice acted, as is well 
known, like a heavy drag upon the sensitiveness 
of the medium and was, with other disturbing 
factors, the reason why Eva C.'s phenomena in 
London were markedly not so strong as in France 
or at Munich. 

Considered by themselves the very careful 
reports of the individual sittings (when regard 
is had to the conditions of control and of the 
unsatisfactory nature of the regurgitation hypo- 
thesis) furnish a further proof of the genuineness 
of the phenomena and are in themselves scientific 
material of especial importance. The diminutive 
size of the phenomena, which the committee 
quite naturally did not desire, itself raises a whole 
host of interesting theoretical considerations as 
to the nature of the processes which are in play. 

These surprising new discoveries with regard 
to materialization-mediums affect the question 
of the connexions between materializations and 
the pseudopodia by which telekinesis is occa- 
sioned. Schrenck-Notzing assumes that they 
are different stages of one and the same process. 
This begins with the radiation of the finest 
thread-like or even shapeless effluvia from the 
organism. The next step consists in their fusion 
into more solid formations, and the following 
one in their transformation into the flat, sketch- 
like forms, which have been photographed in 
considerable number in the publications con- 


cerning Eva C. With further progress, the 
materialization develops into plastic forms, which 
at first sight are indistinguishable from normal 
organisms. The materializations are usually in- 
visible in their first stage, although " palpable " ; 
but it is impossible to lay down any hard and 
fast rules, as even effluvia of the lowest grade 
have been photographed. The formations are 
mostly unable to stand exposure to light, though 
there are exceptions. 

Geley has set up the hypothesis that the 
substance emanating from the materialization- 
mediums is connected with the yet undifferen- 
tiated fundamental organic matter, and that it 
takes on shape under the eyes of the spectators, 
and appears to them as a genuine head, a real 
hand, etc. He compared this process to the 
metamorphosis which takes place in the cocoon 
of the chrysalis or a caterpillar when it turns 
itself into an almost homogenous primitive 
organic substance, in order to build itself up 
again into a new formation the butterfly. 
Even were we to admit the existence of such an 
undifferentiated primitive organic substance 
which can be fashioned by vital factors, it would 
only represent one side of the discovery, the other 
side of which would be the power of the vital 
force of the medium herself to change its own 
direction. These changes clearly take place in 
the medium under the influence of intellectual 


processes. The construction of hands and feet 
is evolved according to their conception. On the 
other hand, it cannot be a question of direct 
influence of the medium's imagination on organic 
matter, for the medium has no knowledge of 
the finer microscopic and ultra-microscopic 
structure of a hand or a foot. Her conceptions 
we must assume work through the medium of 
the vital factors. 

That the human mind has some power over 
vital forces, has, apart from the arguments from 
materialization processes, been undoubtedly 
proved. It is well known that it is possible in 
the case of some people to produce blisters, 
haemorrhage, and other phenomena through 
hypnotic suggestion. However trifling these 
experiments may appear, great metaphysical 
significance is to be ascribed to them inasmuch 
as they afford proof of the action of mental 
processes on the vital forces. These physiological 
results would not be possible, if the hypnotic 
expectation of the formation of a blister or 
haemorrhage did not effect a corresponding 
alteration in the tissues involved. The con- 
struction of the organism, however, is the work of 
the vital forces, and the production of a blister 
or haemorrhage is not possible without interfering 
with the work of the atoms which compose the 
organism. This interference can hardly be re- 
garded otherwise than as a procedure to which 


the vital factors so adapt themselves that they 
rearrange the molecules in the way in which they 
are arranged in a burn, or in the loosening of the 
cells which causes the blood to flow. The mere 
idea of a blister or of a haemorrhage can hardly 
be regarded as sufficient by itself to produce 
either of them, for the idea in itself contains 
nothing but a representation in thought of a 
visual image. We must, therefore, interpose 
factors between the idea and the physical effects 
I mean those vital factors which regulate the 
various processes of the organism. In the cases 
of the blister and the haemorrhage we are not 
concerned with the production of results, which 
cannot be brought about by normal means. 
Blisters are ordinarily produced by outward 
burns, though haemorrhage of course might take 
place in certain illnesses without outward in- 
fluence. A better illustration perhaps may be 
found in cases where under the influence of 
auto-suggestion, pseudo-pregnancy is occasioned 
with the attendant changes in the organism, 
which normally are only produced by the vital 
factors after conception. 

The real mystery of the influence of thought 
and imagination on the organic material does 
not only lie in the fact that the mind produces 
effects on physical things, but also in the fact 
that milliards of atoms are immediately dis- 
placed in a completely orderly manner while the 


individual himself is totally unaware of all the 
movements which are necessary to obtain the 
result arrived at. It is just as though we imagine 
that an entirely ignorant monarch gives instruc- 
tions for the execution of some great undertaking, 
and has no idea how it will be carried out. 
Suddenly engineers, architects, technical ad- 
visers, mechanics and workmen start up to begin 
and complete the work. In like fashion, neither 
the person under hypnosis, nor the waking auto- 
guggestor, nor the materialization-medium know 
how their ideas are actually being put into 
execution. Despite this, the acting vital forces 
immediately set intelligently to work in order 
to achieve the result. 

The recent developments have thrown a certain 
light on earlier reports about mediums, who had 
not been so thoroughly tested or who had not 
been tested under scientific control. I am 
thinking above all of Crookes' medium, Florence 
Cook, Mme. d'Esperance, and several others. 
Mme. d'Esperance is the more interesting by 
reason of the detailed autobiography left by her 
probably the only autobiography of a material- 
ization-medium. To be sure, she, too, takes her 
stand on spiritism. The resemblance in type 
between all these cases is obvious, despite the 
individual peculiarities of each of them. Of 
course, this does not tend towards a strict proof 
of their objectivity, though the probability is 


enhanced thereby. If we accepted this proba- 
bility, we should find in one chapter of Mme. 
d'Esperance's autobiography a detailed descrip- 
tion of a sudden abrupt interruption of 
her state of trance during a complete " act of 
materialization." The ostensible reason appears 
to have been the wish to catch her cheating, 
while according to her own account, a case of 
" dedoublement de personnalite " which went 
further than in any other known case, and which 
actually brought about the biological splitting of 
her body was taking place. Remarkably enough, 
she was conscious of her own individuality 
simultaneously with that of the supposed ma- 
terialized spirit, just as Helene Smith was in her 
semi-somnambulism, and this might be looked 
upon as an extraordinarily strong proof for the 
anti-spiritistic interpretation of the whole process 
of materialization. The interpretation of this 
case given in my " Phenominology of the Ego," 
should be consequently somewhat altered. Un- 
fortunately I do not for the moment possess 
Mme. d'Esperance's book, which would enable 
me to go into the matter further. 

The mind of Mme. d'Esperance " animated " 
her own body as well as that of the " material- 
ized " spirit. The explanation resulting from 
Botazzi's observations of Eusapia, i.e., that a 
materialization-medium feels through its pseudo- 
podia, can thus be extended to the forms material- 


ized. Their psychic life belongs in reality to the 
mind of the medium. Unfortunately, the sudden 
interruption of Mme. d'Esperance's trance were 
fraught with such consequences to her health, 
that it would not be advisable to encourage 
anyone to repeat such an experiment. 

If I am right in these suppositions, stages may 
be constructed in the materialization phenomena, 
starting with the most elementary visions and 
ending with the perfected forms which, to the 
uninitiated, can, perhaps, be hardly distinguished 
from normal organisms. The higher the degree 
of materialization, the harder the distinction, 
the more perfect and stable the new formation. 
Whether these can be of permanent character 
remains to be proved. Crookes says that he was 
allowed to take a lock of hair and scrap of clothing 
from the materialized form. (If so, where are 
they, and who possesses them now ?) Probably 
in the higher stages of materialization some 
dissolution of the material form of the medium 

A close comparison can be made between 
materialization processes and creations by God. 
The former almost seem to be a faint reflection 
of the divine creative power, which is able to 
evolve forms of far greater consistency and 
duration. The creations of God are not tran- 
sient, but remain until He Himself recalls them 
into non-existence. The creations of the 


materialization-mediums are quite fleeting and 
do not last longer than the state of trance of the 
medium, whether we assume that they are com- 
posed of the matter of which the organism of the 
medium is itself composed or that they are " new 
creations " of matter or material substance. 
Whichever view is true, it may be that they 
afford us a glimpse into the creative power of 
God, for we cannot help imagining that the 
creation of the world originated from the thought 
of God in just the same way as materializations 
are evolved by the thoughts of the medium. 
What remains problematic is the part played by 
the vital forces. From whence do they come ? 
Are they an independent group of world factors, 
or are they also creations of God which are misused 
by the mediums in the materialization process, 
or is it more reasonable to assume that they too 
only come into existence through the creative 
action of God and of the mediums ? 


The publication of a second edition has in- 
duced me once again to examine exhaustively 
Schrenck-Notzing's first great publication, the 
criticisms of Matilda von Kemmitz and von 
Gulat-Wellenburg, and Schrenck-Notzing's reply. 
I do not doubt that every reader, who (as is so 
often the case) has only seen Kemmitz's pamphlet, 
will be convinced that the whole thing is a fraud, 


and that Schrenck-Notzing is a man utterly 
devoid of all critical faculty. But if anyone 
takes the trouble to work through Schrenck- 
Notzing's book and his reply to his critics, he will 
be compelled to shake his head over what can 
only be described as the indescribable super- 
ficiality of the pamphlet of this lady doctor, 
who had, indeed, but just taken her degree. 

It is also not correct to say as Dessoir does, 
that except Schrenck-Notzing, I can only refer 
to Geley as vouching unreservedly for the 
genuineness of the phenomena. This has been 
done also in printed statements by Professors 
Richet and Boirac, as well as by Dr. Bourbon 
and de Fontenay, who was an expert on his own 
account, and they did so as the result of sittings 
in which they took part. Also Professor Courtier, 
Clarapede, Bennet, Flammarion, etc., have 
publicly declared that their conviction is the 

("Psych: Studien." May, 1920). 

Schrenck-Notzing has sent me, upon my 
request, the letters which he received about the 
investigations of the Committee of the Psychical 
Research Society from Fielding, Fournier d'Albe, 
Mme. Bisson 1 and Eva C. The essential parts 
of these letters are printed lower down. 
Fournier d'Albe declares that he is himself 

1 It has not beep possible to obtain leave to publish these letters 
in this English edition Editor. 


completely convinced of the genuineness of 
the phenomena, and that an amateur conjurer 
who took part in the sittings said that it was 
impossible to imitate them by trick methods. 
Fielding holds that a convincing proof of the 
genuineness of the phenomena was not achieved. 
The only possibility for fraud lay, in his opinion, 
in regurgitation, but this he regards as very 
unlikely. W. Whately Smith also says that the 
phenomena which he witnessed at six sittings in 
London could only have been produced by 
rumination ; that it is not easy to see how 
rumination was the reason, and that he, upon 
the whole, has come in consideration of all the 
evidence for the case to the conclusion that it is 
genuine. (" The Psychic Research Quarterly " I, 
3, 1921.) Since the sittings Schrenck-Notzing 
reports that a radiographic examination of the 
oesophagus and stomach of Eva C. has been 
made. The result is to show a normal condition 
of these organs unlike that of persons gifted with 
the power of rumination. Ruminants have 
always a distension of the stomach and, in order 
to achieve their results, have to swallow liquids 
in quart quantities. 

Mme. Bisson, whose letters do not leave an 
unfavourable impression, complains that the 
methods of investigation in London were not at 
all adapted from the psychical point of view to 
the results which were desired. Instead of being 


content with taking necessary precautions, con- 
versation went on continually without any 
restraint in the presence of the medium about 
possibly undiscovered methods of cheating, and 
the medium, as well as Mme. Bisson, naturally 
became increasingly irritated. Moreover, right 
from the beginning an unfavourable predisposi- 
tion clearly prevailed in the minds of the com- 
mittee, and this could not fail to have had an 
unfavourable effect on the medium, and to 
prevent the phenomena from reaching their 
proper development. 

It is a very common fact, which again and again 
recurs, that persons who have taken part in an 
investigation are convinced of the reality of the 
phenomena during the sittings and immediately 
after them, and record their opinions to this 
effect in writing, and then after more or less of 
an interval, as memory becomes fainter, they 
begin to doubt again and explain the whole thing 
just as decidedly in the opposite sense. 

In the same way everyone on first making 
acquaintance with parapsychological literature 
undergoes a similar experience. As long as he is 
under the impression of the recorded observed 
facts he is more or less convinced, and then as 
time goes by he becomes uncertain again, and 
ends up by regarding the whole thing as a swindle. 
If he again takes up the literature on the subject 
he repeats the process, and this happens so often 


that we at last become conscious of it and have to 
resolve to hold fast afterwards to the judgment 
which we have formed whilst actually engaged 
in considering the facts. This seems the only 
methodological point of view which is tenable 
in the circumstances. 

From the theoretical point of view it would 
be extremely important, if the theory of observa- 
tion could only be more closely worked out with 
the object of laying down rules for saying when 
an observed fact can be regarded as really super- 
normal and when the possibility of deception is 
excluded. The discussion about observed facts 
still continually breaks down over the impossi- 
bility of coming to an agreed decision of the 
question whether, given the conditions, the possi- 
bility of fraud was left open or not. It is 
necessary to lay down fixed criteria on this subject, 
or we shall never make any advance. The mere 
statement that " very probably there was fraud, 
after all," can always be made, but it cannot all 
the same claim to be always accepted as a valid 
argument, for if it were, the positive ascertainment 
of facts would be impossible. 

In the same way explanations which are 
obviously impossible must not be allowed to 
stand. There is a kind of criticism, which is 
not criticism^which would rather admit the most 
senseless hypothesis than the existence of a 
parapsychic fact. One of the crassest examples 


of this may be found in Lehmann's well-known 
book on superstition and magic. He " ex- 
plains " a report of Seiling about a partial de- 
materialization of Madame d'Esperance, by 
supposing that that medium " stuck her legs 
and, perhaps, the whole of the lower part of her 
body, through the opening of the back of the 
chair on which she was sitting," and he, him- 
self, gives the measurements of this hole as 
nineteen cm. high by twenty-nine cm. broad. 
If you compare this measurement with that of a 
grown woman with her clothes on, you can only 
be astonished that a reputable investigator 
regards the proceeding as possible, and goes on 
to assume that the people sitting near-by noticed 
in no way how the medium got up and forced her 
legs and lower body with her clothes backwards 
through the opening of the chair. 

The phenomena observed with Eva C. have 
recently received indirect confirmation through 
similar phenomena recorded in Crawford's posthu- 
mous work, " The Psychic Structures of the 
Goligher Circle" (Watkins, London, 1920), 
which reached me for the first time as I was 
correcting those additional remarks. (Schrenck- 
Notzing has given an account of the book in 
" Psych : Studien," August, 1921). These pheno- 
mena have upon occasion the same web-like 
formation as many of the structures produced 
by Eva C. 


The genuineness of Crawford's work is vouched 
for, not only " by this one man," as Dessoir 
says. As regards the levitation phenomena, 
Professor Wm. Barrett has given a confirmatory 
statement. (In proceedings of S.P.R., Vol. 30, 
page 334). Crawford, in 1920, explained his 
unwillingness to allow the presence of witnesses 
as due to his fear that they might spoil the 
development of his medium by subjecting her 
to a bad psychical influence. 

Moreover, Fournier d'Albe, who took over 
the further investigation of the medium soon 
after Crawford's death, has declared in favour 
of the genuineness of the phenomena. He writes 
to Schrenck-Notzing : " The phenomena are 
very strong and begin after 10-20 minutes. 
I have taken some photographs which show a 
quite regularly webbed-woven structure like 
chiffon. How it is produced future investiga- 
tion must show." 1 F. M. Stevenson in the same 
way has confirmed Crawford's conclusions as the 
result of his own investigations and of the photo- 
graphs which he took. (" The Psychic Research 
Quarterly," Oct., 1921.) 

1 Fournier d'Albe went back on this as the result of further 
investigation, and concluded emphatically that the phenomena 
were due to fraud. Editor. 


Extracts from letters about the London sittings 
with Eva C. 

Fournier d'Albe to Schrenck-Notzing. 

" London, June 24, 1920. 

" I was present at six sittings, of which four 
were negative. This seems about the usual 
proportion in London. The best sitting was 
last Thursday. Eva had the veil on, and not 
less than four different phenomena showed them- 
selves one after the other in front of her face, 
but inside the veil a finger, a kind of veil, 
a cravat with some lines upon it and a (paper) 
surface upon which the lines of a face were 
drawn. This last was grey and flat, and was 
fastened to her nose. All the phenomena were 
shown for some seconds. Mr. Dingwell the 
amateur conjurer of the committee assures me 
that the phenomena could not have been pro- 
duced by trickery. 

" Yesterday the result was similar, although 
Eva, shortly before the sitting, had had a cup of 
tea and a cake a precaution directed against 
the regurgitation hypothesis. I was not present. 

" The psychological effect upon the com- 
mittee is the usual one. All the conditions, 
one after the other, were complied with, but, 
instead of being content they go on thinking out 
new ones. Whatever the reason, the phenomena 
are all of small measurements, and I think it 


probable that in London the larger phenomena 
will not be forthcoming." 

"June 30, 1920. 

" The London sittings are at an end, and the 
ladies journeyed back this morning to Paris. A 
total of about thirty (really forty) sittings took 
place and I think only about eight (really thirteen) 
were positive. I attended ten. Of these four 
were positive. The best was last Saturday from 
four to seven o'clock. 

" We felt the cold wind (for the first time) and 
saw (i) a black string between the hands, (2) 
which changed itself into a grey membrane, 
(3) and then into a flat surface of grey felt (which 
was examined with an electric torch), (4) a mass 
which hung from the mouth like a stalactite ; 
(5) later (2 minutes) a face drawn in natural 
colours upon a thin substratum (this was sub- 
mitted to the light and photographed), (6) 
fibrous substance between the two hands which 
were held by D. This vanished suddenly before 
our eyes after I had examined the medium's 
mouth, (7) a finger ' coming out of the mouth 

" This I am told was the best sitting. Since 
it took place two sittings were held on Monday 
and Tuesday without result. Mrs, Feilding was 
present at them. She seems to hinder the pheno- 
mena by her too critical attitude. Although 


Mr. Feilding says that nothing took place which 
could not throughout have been produced by 
a conjurer, yet the personal judgment of all who 
took part is thoroughly favourable to the two 
ladies. We had hoped for phenomena on a 
larger scale, but the circumstances, especially 
from the psychological side, were not favourable 
enough for that." 

Feilding to Schrenck-Notzing. 

" London, July 17, 1920. 

" Madame Bisson left over a fortnight ago, 
after a stay of more than two months, during 
which we had about thirty seances. The results, 
although very interesting, were, unhappily, not 
as important as previous reports had led us to 
hope for. That is to say that, inasmuch as the 
regurgitation theory is the only theory that can 
hold the field in opposition to that of super- 
normal ideoplasm, it is a pity that we never got 
phenomena big enough to warrant us in declaring, 
as a matter of scientific certainty, that this 
theory is insufficient, however great its improba- 
bility may be. I am extremely sorry that Madame 
Bisson seems very dissatisfied with our way of 
running things. All the same, I assure you most 
positively that her dissatisfaction is really base- 
less. We felt from the outset that it would be 
impossible that in a short series of experiments 
we should be able to add anything of value to 


the study of the phenomena from a scientific 
point of view. Madame Bisson has a far better 
installation in Paris than we have here for a study 
of this kind. We limited ourselves, therefore, 
to trying to confirm your and her opinion about 
the authenticity of the phenomena ; that is, 
to establish the absence of any trick or fraud of 
any kind, so as to prepare the English public 
for the forthcoming appearance of the transla- 
tion of your book, the interest in which will 
obviously depend on the confidence which this 
public will have, that the facts described in it 
really deserve serious attention. There has 
already been a considerable polemic in the 
reviews and in certain books tending to show 
that it is all nothing but the merest humbug. 
At the least, therefore, a favourable report by 
the S.P.R., which is known for its caution in 
matters of this kind, would have a far greater 
practical value than an incomplete study of the 
nature of the * substance ,' which is apparently 
what Madame Bisson wanted. Madame is wrong 
in thinking that we began the experiments with 
the conviction that it was all merely a trick to be 
shown up. But as we knew that the chief thing 
would be to be able to give an effective answer to 
the question * trick, or genuine phenomenon ? 7 we 
included in our committee certain members also, 
who, from their knowledge of conjuring, would 
be able to speak as experts from that point of 


view. They were not, however, in any way con- 
jurors by profession." 

Feilding to Schrenck-Notzing. 

" Rockport, Ireland, August 28, 1920. 

" I think I must have expressed myself badly 
when speaking about the regurgitation theory. 
I never intended to say that we had adopted this 
as the most probable theory. I only said that 
the phenomena that we saw in London were 
not large enough for us to be able to say that 
they, taken alone and without considering what 
had been observed by our predecessors, rendered 
the regurgitation theory impossible." 

Eva C. to Schrenck-Notzing. 

" London, May 5, 1920. 

" The sittings here seem likely to go well. 
Out of five, three have produced something. I 
very much hope that the results will be alto- 
gether satisfactory. After this I believe that 
I shall have done my duty as regards these 
sciences. At all events I shall have done all that 
was humanly possible for me. I have often 
needed courage, for all these questions are very 
distasteful and not always very considerate for 
the medium. The control is always very painful 
to me, for I am really a bit of a savage, and all these 
exhibitions of my person are really hateful. I 
accept every condition, and desire to do so, as 
I understand that the whole interest in these 
ph^liomena is based on control before and after. 


Madame Bisson has recently^ published the 
following statement in " Psychica," 1921, May 15, 
No. 3 : 

" The first five sittings in London gave excel- 
lent results. But the experimenters were not 
used to materialization phenomena and the room 
for the sittings adjoined a very noisy room, from 
which strong disturbing noises made by mes- 
sengers kept coming so that the medium was 
woken up and made nervous. The hour of the 
sittings was changed to later in the day, and 
this was very inconvenient for the medium who 
only got home late after tiring sittings. 

" Yet in spite of all distracting causes we got 
some good and interesting manifestations. One 
day, both hands of the medium being held by 
one of those present (a conjurer) a parcel of 
substance appeared between this gentleman's 
hands and Eva's. This substance grew bigger 
on their hands and then developed. A small 
woman's face appeared. Mr. D., the conjurer, 
cried out : ' She has blue eyes and red lips 
she is smiling to me.' 

" I do not yet know the report of the S.P.R., 
and I shall avoid commenting on it. I got a 
letter to say that Mr. D. had delivered a lecture 
on our work in which he is said to have declared 
that he could not admit that there was any fraud, 
for fraud would seem to him more extraordinary 
than the phenomena itself." 



THE superabnormal psychical and physical 
phenomena which we have so far reviewed 
form to-day the field of research for the 
initial stage of parapsychology, the newest branch 
of philosophy. The beginnings of these investi- 
gations not yet recognized by many of us as 
an independent scientific branch correspond 
roughly to the beginnings of hypnotic research, 
a further point of resemblance consisting in the 
fact that though inaugurated some decades ago, 
they were forgotten later, only to be revived once 
again towards the end of the last century. 

Just as the phenomena of hypnotism are prime- 
val and are to be found right through history down 
to the present day, so, too, are the supernormal 
phenomena with which we are concerned in this 
book, even if we are still unable to distinguish 
between truth and fiction with regard to the 
traditions about them in history. To make 
this distinction will only be possible when we are 
on a firmer footing all round than is the case at 
present. It is certainly probable that, ten years 
hence, we may look upon much in history 
9 129 


particularly in the history of religion with 
very different eyes, though even so, there will be 
quite enough errors, fraud and superstition left. 
Parapsychic phenomena have at all times served 
as the starting point for an immense amount of 
premature metaphysics about the soul. The 
first and easiest interpretation of many of the 
phenomena is the spiritistic. It consists in the 
assumption that it is not the psyche of the 
medium which develops supernormal faculties, 
but that departed spirits establish themselves in 
the organism of the medium, manifesting their 
presence through it, and even substracting 
organic substance from the medium, in order to 
be reincarnated or materialized. This spiritistic 
conception which the latest observations of 
materializations have rendered so extremely im- 
probable makes so great an appeal to the naive 
observer, that it has existed ever since para- 
psychic phenomena became known, though the 
same significance was not always attached to it. 
The last great upheaval started towards the 
middle of the last century, when so-called 
" table-turning " came over from America. This 
was the birth of modern Spiritism, which soon 
spread over the whole world, and even to-day has 
its circle of adherents everywhere. But as every 
new wave of thought whether high or low 
sooner or later loses its native force, so, too, 
spiritism saw its strength wane. 


As a matter of fact, spiritism to-day is no 
longer the most modern form of occultism. 
The strong religious tendency of the present day 
working on occultism has produced a new move- 
ment, which in contradistinction to Occultism 
shows a decided religious bias, namely that of 
Theosophy. In theosophy spiritism has to a 
certain degree been merged, for spiritism has no 
tenets which Theosophy does not recognize. 
Theosophy, however, goes beyond spiritism, 
accepting second sight, telepathy, visions of 
spirits and materializations as of ordinary, every- 
day occurrences manifestations of a lower grade, 
which, indeed, it treats as real facts, but no 
longer as of primary importance. 

Theosophy desires to offer more. Its aim is 
to be able to unveil those mysteries of the universe 
into which spiritism dared not probe. Theo- 
sophy believes it will be able to make the higher 
knowledge, by which time and space cease to 
exist, accessible to all. Theosophy considers 
itself as a sort of godhead, above all philosophic 
thought, which is but a preliminary step, and 
which it contemplates from a higher angle 
like Hegel when he, from the philosophic 
point of view, looked down on mere rational 
discursive thought. Theosophy believes itself 
to possess a more advanced knowledge, though 
despite this, it professes no close relationship 
with traditional religious beliefs which depend 


upon revelation. It is much more like a religion 
in its initial stages than like a creed, which has 
existed for ages and already follows a steady 
course. For long confined to a comparatively 
small, exclusive circle of adherents, it has grown 
considerably of late years, particularly since the 
German revolution, as is indicated by the con- 
siderable increase in theosophic publications. 

Theosophy is not a spiritual movement of a 
kind peculiar to the present day. In earlier 
epochs, similar movements existed which sought 
for loftier religious understanding, beyond the 
limits of philosophy and traditional religion. 
Throughout the Middle Ages this tendency lay 
hidden beneath the religious life. It was known 
as Mysticism. It held that an unmediated 
elevation of the soul to God is possible, which 
would lead to the unification of the human 
personality with the Divine Being, to a unto 
mystica or deificatio, or as German mysticism 
terms it, a " Vergottung." As compared with 
this older form of Theosophy, which still lives 
on in Catholicism to this day, modern Theosophy 
emphasizes the intellectual side. It is based on 
knowledge although inner religious depths are 
not lacking in it either. 

The whole movement originated in India and 
England, and even to-day the English Theo- 
sophical tendency is the dominant one. At its 
head stood the Russian Blavatsky, possibly herself 


a medium, though at the same time an extremely 
cunning impostor and as fascinating a personality 
as only a hysterical Russian of that class can be. 
The report upon her by the psychologist Hodgson, 
who was deputed to make investigations on 
behalf of the Society for Psychical Research, 
was as unfavourable to her as it could be. 

At the present day also, as at its origin, English 
Theosophy is dominated by the mind of a woman, 
that of Mrs. Annie Besant. Morally, she must 
be considered much higher than her predecessor, 
who at one and the same time seems to have 
fulfilled the functions of Russian political agent, 
and mediatress of the higher revelations. Mrs. 
Besant is no impostor, and makes no pretensions 
to an exalted position among her fellows as did 
Mme. Blavatsky. She must be an imposing 
personality, and not only as a public speaker. 
According to her own confession to James, years 
ago, she is characterized by extreme diffidence 
in personal intercourse, though recklessly brave 
in public, but Keyserlinck, who visited her in 
India, was quite differently impressed. " Of one 
thing I am convinced," he writes : " this woman 
controls her person from a centre in a way that 
I have seldom seen equalled. . . . Mrs. Besant 
has her abilities, sensations, will-power, so in 
hand, that she appears capable of greater efforts 
than those who are more highly gifted." The 
literary productions of Annie Besant have 


nothing distinguished about them. To a scienti- 
fically inclined reader her books are quite unpalat- 
able. As a critic once put it : " Should an 
exhibition ever be held of the malformations of 
human thought, there would be a rush to be the 
first to get her books for it." 

The centre of English Theosophy must be 
looked for in India, where the speculations of the 
old Indian Theosophy are deliberately renewed. 
The reader is overwhelmed in Annie Besant's 
books by a mass of Indian expressions, and 
doubtless the effect on half-educated people is 
often to create a curious haziness of mind, an 
atmosphere of mystery, full of wondrous thoughts, 
favourable to any kind of auto-suggestion. Not 
only do the ideas of English Theosophy emanate 
from India, but the close relationship with that 
country is proclaimed by the fact that the 
headquarters of the movement is in India itself, 
in Adyar, where Mme. Blavatsky founded her 
Indian Theosophist Society in 1875. Annie 
Besant is now its president, and has made India 
her permanent home for many years past. The 
fusion of race and the ideal of indiscriminate 
brotherly love have in this movement not been 
confined to mere expression, and the British 
members of the Society are even in sympathy 
with the Indian national movement. Mrs. Besant 
took a leading part in the last Indian National 
Congress, and the Anglo-Indian authorities have 


been faced with difficulties as a direct consequence 
of her action. 

The Theosophical movement has extended 
from England to Germany, and Annie Besant 
herself came over to give a series of lectures. 
Some of her voluminous writings as well as those 
of her disciple Leadbeater have been translated. 
The prophet-in-chief of German Theosophy 
to-day, however, is Rudolf Steiner of Stuttgart. 
He is the son of a small railway official, and was 
born in Hungary in 1861. Even now, he still 
feels himself to be the " son of the proletariate," 
and the " proletarian " seems to him the greatest 
historical reality of the present, whose mission 
it is to lead humanity on to a higher level. I 
once heard him lecture on state reform : " The 
Three Limbs of the Social Organism." He is a 
tall, dark person, with an intelligent expression. 
He enlarged for two or three hours, in a voice of 
remarkable carrying power, on very few ideas ; 
or, rather, he actually bellowed as though he 
meant to drown any possible contradiction. His 
lecture was extremely monotonous, and at the 
same time very vague, a typical German revolu- 
tionary programme of reform. The enigma as 
to the why and wherefore of his hold on his 
following, and how it is that hundreds, nay, 
thousands, believe in him, is still unsolved. 
Neither is it easy to understand how it is that a 
group of women are said to have pursued him from 


place to place at that time, in order to hear him 
speak again and again. 

The fundamental idea of Theosophy is ex- 
pressed in the belief that the world of our senses 
does not represent the whole of reality ; but that 
higher spheres exist, and that mankind is enabled 
to gain insight into this higher world by reason 
of second sight or " clairvoyance." That which 
to us is the world forms but a small section of the 
actual universe of being. 

The world is not alone in possessing unknown 
spheres and gradations ; what is true of the world 
is true also of mankind. This new interpretation 
of man's constitution is considered by Steiner 
to be of such importance that he calls his whole 
train of thought Anthroposophy instead of 
Theosophy. This change of name synchronizes 
with a slight change of emphasis from the 
religious to the intellectual sphere. Steiner 
repudiates the dominant conception that man 
is composed of two parts : the body and the soul. 
He admits of no less than four component parts. 
Over and above the physical body, which is made 
of the same consistent parts as the inanimate 
world, is (2) the " living or aetheric body," which 
is practically represented in neovitalitism, by 
entelechy, psychoid, vital factor or the like. 
The word " aether" (body) has no connexion 
with the "aether" of physics. The (3) third 
" member of the human being " is the " sensitive 


or astral body," and transmits suffering and 
desire, joy, lust, passion, etc. The (4) fourth 
factor, mankind's own peculiar prerogative, is 
the " ego," the " body of the ego," where, 
again, the word " body " is not to be taken 
literally. Plato would have called it " reason " 
instead. The sensitive body is said to be formed 
in the shape of a " longish egg," in which both 
the physical and setheric bodies are embedded ! 
It ranges over them in every direction like a 
" form of light:" We meet here correct opinions 
strangely transformed and intermingled with 
phantastic ones. The semi-materialism is charac- 
teristic, for though Steiner is at pains to speak 
of " body," he is still quite aware that he is 
employing a false term. 

The belief held by all Theosophists in reincar- 
nation is of the greatest significance. The idea 
of the transmigration of the soul is alien to the 
European spiritual world with but few excep- 
tions Pythagoras, for instance. It has never 
gained ground in Europe to any great extent. 
This idea, too, originated in India, like all other 
fundamental Theosophist teachings, and there, 
for thousands of years, it has formed the main 
part of all religions. It is a thought which, if 
taken in a deeper sense, can markedly increase the 
sense of responsibility in man by the belief that 
his future fate is dependent on his present life. 
It also confers a strange peace of mind onjsome 


individuals, when combined with other beliefs. 
When life is regarded as lasting for a very long 
time, time ceases to be precious ; there is no 
necessity for a hurry ; in future existences there 
will be opportunity for everything now 

The whole development of culture is visualized 
by Steiner as dependent on the ever-increasing 
influence of the ego on the remaining parts of 
man. Indeed the secret teaching of Theosophy 
consists in an ever greater control 'of the ego over 
those parts. Man becomes master of his charac- 
ter, his passions, and, at the highest stage, even of 
his physical body. He controls the circulation 
of the blood, as well as his pulse. In this it is 
easy to recognize the influence of the ancient 
Indian Theosophy in which, on reaching the 
highest stage of development, man attains 
mastery over his organic functions. 

But this is not yet the heart of the new secret 
teachings. The final aim is the achievement of 
a higher knowledge that of so-called " second 
sight," the contemplative observation of all the 
profundities of reality. All mankind can attain 
this understanding, when, through unceasing 
mediation, they release those higher faculties 
which lie dormant within them. To the " seer " 
nothing would remain hidden. 

It is amazing in the extreme to hear of the 
results attained by means of the higher mental 


faculties, which, though dormant in most, appear 
thoroughly awakened in Steiner. We learn of 
the most tanheard-of things concerning the 
happenings of the universe. What are all the 
attainments of geology and astronomy in com- 
parison to the visions of the Theosophists ? The 
past of the solar system and of the earth are 
relentlessly unveiled to us. We hear of new 
ages of which no one knew anything. We learn 
how mankind was formed in the " lemuric " 
period on that continent which existed between 
Australia and India. Further, Steiner alludes 
to powerful spirits who wandered about earth 
before mankind existed, and he knows of whole 
cycles of culture which existed in prehistoric 
times. All Plato's descriptions of Atlanta read 
like a dry and harmless report when compared to 
Steiner 's clairvoyant visions. Even Helene 
Smith's Martian and ultra-Martian apparitions 
pale before them. Every now and then are 
interspersed glimpses of angelic figures, higher 
spirits, which were active in the earlier stages 
of the solar system. Even a pre-historic Christ 
is not missing from the cosmic birth of the world, 
when earth and sun parted. This Christ, or 
Sun-Man, is said to have instructed seven great 
teachers the teachers of the ancient Indies, 
though these ancient Indies must not be con- 
founded with the present geographical conception 
of India. There is said to have been a " higher " 


pre-historic India. But in that case, one asks in 
vain why it is still called India ? 

Even Schilling's later reckless Theosophical and 
cosmogonic speculations are child's play in 
comparison to Steiner's "inspirations," which 
might better be thought to bear an analogy 
to the philosophy of later classical times. In my 
opinion, however, even this comparison is too 
pale. I can find nothing better to compare than 
the Apocalyptic Scriptures the Revelations of 
St. John or, better still, the apocalyptic visions 
of David of Lazareth. True it is that Steiner 
lacks the touch of power which is found in them, 
but like them he sweeps grandiosely above all the 
probabilities, and like them deals with the 
milliards of years, aeons and super-epochs. The 
question arises if the analogy be pursued is 
Steiner then also mentally deranged ? The 
contents of certain of his writings certainly seem 
to suggest this. Or how otherwise can these 
emanations of the spirit be understood ? It 
must be admitted as an " extenuating circum- 
stance " that Steiner is not unique in this regard. 
One need only examine the recent publications 
in German of the works of Annie Besant, and of 
her disciple, 'Leadbeater. Here, too, allusions 
are found to whole series of realities of which the 
rest of us are entirely unaware; and in another book 
an attempt is made to unravel the secrets of the 
construction of the atoms by means of clairvoyance. 


Who will take the trouble to compare all these 
conflicting revelations ? I fear they would prove 
as full of contradictions as the scriptural Apo- 
crypha, though this fact would cause no dis- 
couragement to the Theosophists. They would 
merely say that some of the revelations were 
genuine others only pseudo-revelations. Even 
if they were not full of contradictions, that 
would not prove them objective ; it would still 
be simpler to assume that they are relatively 
interdependent. ' The point so much against 
them is that they fail to show any interconnexion 
with the ordinary sciences. And yet any claim 
to objectivity which they might have must at 
least entail some sort of connecting link with 
established knowledge. A " clairvoyant " de- 
scription of prehistoric facts, if genuine, should by 
rights have some connexion with prehistoric 
science, and reveal to persons interested in early 
history steps and stages of development which 
would bring to light the interconnexion of 
historically recorded facts. In short, it would 
do what genius does. We find nothing of all 
this in Steiner's conceptions. Further, the 
reader who is versed in psychology feels the 
absence of detailed descriptions of the nature of 
this process of revelation. We are overwhelmed 
by a mass of assertion mere assertion nothing 
else. And when the question is raised : Will the 
student of Theosophy himself reach the stage of 


personal inspiration, the answer is bewildering, 
for the reader is told that he is on the threshold 
already of spiritual enlightenment as soon as he 
begins to hear and understand Steiner's revela- 
tions. From the time when these revelations 
are received and believed, we are told that we 
have part in them and have ourselves received 
them. This is surely a dubious assertion, and 
might even be regarded as hallucination ; for 
Steiner must surely know the great difference 
between mere belief in something and an act of 
higher intuition. 

Steiner writes quite differently when he is on 
neutral ground. For instance, his essays on the 
earlier philosophers are thorough and impressive. 
We should expect him, therefore, to show a 
keener appreciation of the value of some psycho- 
logical analysis of the insight which he claims to 

The path to second sight is reached by way 
of strange exercises of mental concentration 
exercitia spiritualia which are directly derived 
from the Indian school of spiritual training. In 
the first place, Steiner advocates a contemplative 
study of certain flower-like drawings. These 
are alleged to have a highly symbolical significance. 
Thus a black cross is the symbol of the baser 
passions and lusts ; therefore, during meditation 
seven red roses are placed in the centre of a 
black cross to denote passions and lusts under 


control. After continued contemplative exer- 
cises, the student is stated gradually to get 
outside his own ego and to become conscious of 
the higher spiritual world. Unfortunately, 
records in literature of the effect of such con- 
templation and of its gradual increasing power 
are extremely rare. It is obviously a question of 
generating auto-hypnotic conditions, which create 
a favourable basis for auto-suggestions of every 
description. The suspicion arises, that the 
student of Thedsophy experiences nothing be- 
yond an auto-suggestive strengthening of his 
faith in his Master and possibly a few correspond- 
ing hallucinations. But nothing much is achieved 
by such a conclusion. According to numerous 
reports from India, there can be no doubt that 
a protraction of such contemplative exercises 
has a peculiarly strengthening effect on the 
human mind. We are continually reminded of 
the fact that the Indian Yogi are renowned for 
their complete control over their psyche. 
Keyserlinck is also of opinion that Mrs. Annie 
Besant's self-mastery is attributable to her Yogi 
exercises. And surely the deep satisfaction which 
has been attained by many adherents of the 
Theosophical movement, and which I am sure 
exists from the statements which they themselves 
have made to me, is attributable to these con- 
templations. A closer study of the whole subject 
has become a pressing duty, and may have 


important results for the self-education of mature 

A deeper study of these conditions of spiritual 
concentration is, however, hardly possible in 
Europe. I am almost inclined to believe that 
all that has been achieved by exercises in con- 
centration as practised in Europe has reached only 
to the fringe of what has been done in India. 
The whole mind of the European is far too 
active and too engrossed with worldly affairs. 
The European is not able to devote himself to 
spiritual exercises in the way the Indian can. 

The study of Indian self-absorption must be 
carried out in India itself. That is why it is of 
such great parapsychical importance, for, if we 
are to believe the accounts of travellers to that 
land, it represents a method which systematically 
obtains complete mastery over those parts of the 
organism which are not subjected to the conscious 
will, as well as also furthering mediumistic 
faculties. European mediumship is the gift of 
chance certain persons evince abnormal para- 
psychic phenomena, we know not how or when. 
In India the problem of the methodical pro- 
duction of such faculties has apparently been 
solved for centuries. This assertion might have 
been ignored so long as there was any question 
of the reality of the parapsychic phenomena. 
To-day, when doubt is no longer possible, the 
Indian reports have also become of interest to 


us. Whatever the outcome, they deserve to be 
investigated, even at the risk that the mystery 
may remain unsolved. 

Indian Theosophy has this in common with 
European Theosophy : the majority of its 
adherents are believers only very few have real 
knowledge. " The majority of those that I have 
talked to," said Keyserlinck, " believe only, 
though a few are convinced that they also know, 
and report to me as naturally and calmly about 
unheard-of events, as a naturalist on his latest 

All that we have so far heard about Steiner and 
his teachings does not, however, solve the problem 
of his ever-increasing influence even on many 
people who are of a superior moral character. 
It is evident that these weird occult teachings, 
which promise an insight yet undreamed of, must 
have a mysterious attraction for many. But the 
deeper satisfaction found by so many in Theo- 
sophy is surely attributable to the high moral 
tendency which permeates Steiner's teachings 
(though it easily is lost sight of by persons who 
stand outside Theosophy in the face of his 
strange metaphysical teachings) ; which pervades 
his whole theories ; and which brings Theosophy 
into closer relationship with Christianity than 
seems apparent at first sight. The real reason 
for Steiner's great influence, therefore, lies in 
the higher values interspersed in his metaphysics 



which ensure him respect, confused though his 
speculations seem. To this must be added the 
fact that Steiner rejects certain forms of older 
Christianity, e.g. its contempt for health and 
strength which are alien to the modern mind. 
In this, again, he concurs with Indian views, by 
which Yogism and the highest condition of 
concentration are confined to those in perfect 
mental and physical health. Steiner's writings 
insist on inner mental health, and he requires 
this condition from the students' of Theosophy. 
In far-seeing guise, Theosophists believe that a 
religious conception of life is essential to the 
healthy life of the soul. Work and devotion 
are for them the pivots of life. 

But all this does not prevent the rest of 
Steiner's writings from being extraordinarily 
confused and muddled quite apart from the fact 
that little reliance can be placed on his ter- 
minology and expressions. He does not consider 
it necessary to confine himself to the use of words 
in their ordinary sense and what is still worse, his 
own terms are themselves hopelessly jumbled 


Since the first edition of this book was pub- 
lished, the Theosophical movement has spread 
still further. Its claims are greater than ever, 
and the number of its opponents is also increasing. 


I have avoided taking any part in the platform 
campaign about it. The effort to find the truth, 
in which I should like to help, will not be for- 
warded it will rather be hindered by |, the 
controversies of public discussion. As I * am 
told, Steiner in his new form of polemics has 
attacked me personally, but I do not know how 
or when and I shall take care not to be tempted 
to answer insult with insult. 

The two main points, which most urgently 
ought to be cleared up, are first as to the nature 
of Steiner 5 s so-called " second sight " (Hell- 
sehen), and secondly as to the question (which 
is not without connexion with the first) how 
meditation is practised in the inner anthropo- 
sophical circles, and how in Steiner's own case 
it first came to fulfilment, for Steiner (as is 
known) comes from the school of Mrs. Besant 
a fact which anthroposophical circles generally 
rather markedly avoid mentioning, as they prefer 
to regard Steiner as a man who has never been 
spiritually indebted to any other. 

It is further worth noting that the expression 
" second sight " is used by Steiner in an unusually 
wide sense. Generally the word is used to denote 
the capacity of perceiving a thing although the 
normal condition of sight are not present, that 
is although no light waves from the thing can 
reach the eye because the thing is too far away 
or hidden somewhere. Steiner, however, means 


by " second sight " the pretended higher 
functions of the soul which are dependent on 
the so-called astral body, through which the 
Theosophist is able to read the " Akasha Record," 
that is to see the impressions which are retained 
by a higher actuality of all the events of our 
homely earth. Yet all this must, he says, be 
treated merely as a use of metaphors, both when 
we speak of " impressions " or of " reading " them. 
If this is so, it would be better not to use the 
word " second sight " at all But we have to 
reconcile ourselves as best we can to Steiner's 
habit, not of coining new words which could be 
used in a definite and recognizable sense, but of 
taking old words and using them in a new and 
altered meaning. 

The deciding question, with which his whole 
standpoint stands or falls, is the question whether 
"second sight," in Steiner's sense, is a fact 
which actually occurs or not, and whether he 
himself possesses it. If this is answered, then the 
question of the existence of the Akasha Record 
or at least, the question whether it is capable of 
being proved to exist will also be settled. 

The obvious idea of making experiments in 
the ordinary sense of the word with the faculty 
of second sight leads to no result, since the 
reading of the Akasha Record is not a second sight 
of the land which permits of experiments. The 
higher degree of second sight has got to be 


tested by itself. This test can naturally not be 
carried out by any proof of the truth of Steiner's 
deliverances on the subject of the early history 
of the sun's system or of mankind. We have no 
methods of verification which are not dependent 
upon the usual scientific considerations about 
the sun or mankind. We cannot help from the 
scientific point of view regarding most of his 
stories as bottomless imaginings, and the most 
that we can possibly do is perhaps to discuss one 
or two of them*, for instance, the question of the 
Atlantes, or of the Lemurians. To this Steiner 
retorts that our own scientific interpretations 
are merely uncertain hypotheses. A decision 
can therefore only be reached if Steiner is himself 
so kind as to help us ! He must give us informa- 
tion from the Akasha Record about past events, 
which we do not yet know, but which we should 
be able to verify with reasonable certainty by 
the use of the normal channels of knowledge. 

Accordingly, I hereby challenge Steiner 
personally to give us an opportunity of verifying 
in this way his assertions about his superhuman 
capacities. And since according to views current 
in Theosophical circles, which Steiner also shares, 
as the mind rises to higher levels which are still 
levels common to clairvoyant faculties in the 
ordinary sense, it develops a power of getting 
free from the body as well as other capacities, 
it is desirable that the opportunity for verification 


should extend to the whole of the phenomena 
under consideration and especially to the capacity 
which Rittelmeyer maintains is possessed by 
Steiner of seeing the contents of other people's 
minds. Steiner is said to have already once put 
himself at the disposal of Kulpe in Munich for a 
psychological examination, but Kulpe unfortu- 
nately declined the task for want of time. I 
may, therefore, very naturally express the wish 
that he will again make the offer especially as 
he declares that he has himself a theoretical 
interest in psychology. 

Some of Steiner's supporters have been very 
much offended because I said that according to 
Steiner, his followers share in his revelations as 
soon as they take his assertions to themselves and 
believe in them. It is (according to these sup- 
porters) characteristic of Steiner that he does not 
demand belief but only that we should follow 
his thoughts. On the other hand it should be 
noted that he expressly declares that the study 
of his revelations is itself a means of " reaching 
knowledge on one's own account," indeed, that 
it is indispensable thereto. " In all esoteric 
training such study acts as a preparation. If a 
man tries every other means and does not take to 
himself the teaching of his esoteric guide, he will 
not reach his goal." For this teaching is not 
mere words, but a " living force." This can only 
be described as meaning that the esoteric student 


has got blindly to trust himself to the truth of 
Steiner's revelations so that they may become his 
own living convictions. 

Moreover, the requirement of humility and of 
the denial of the self naturally works in the same 
direction to produce a credulous acceptance of 
the doctrine. 

Again, how did Steiner, or whoever was the 
first and original " clairvoyant/ 5 attain to his 
capacity of higher vision, if the study of his 
revelations is indispensable ? There must have 
been a time when revelations did not exist which 
could be studied. And we should like to know 
what is the actual result in the circles of Steiner's 
followers of the practice of concentration with a 
view to achieving " second sight." I have not 
yet been able to find out that any clairvoyant 
worth mention has arisen among all his numerous 
followers, some of whom are adepts of dis- 
tinguished ability. 

I should further regard it as extraordinarily 
important to establish once for all, by a special 
investigation, how far the contents of Steiner's 
clairvoyant revelations correspond in detail with 
those of the English Theosophists, especially 
Mme. Blavatsky and Annie Besant. I have not 
so far being able to find leisure to make the com- 
parison and can only urge others to do so. Such 
a comparison is necessary for the purpose of 
explanation. The correspondences between the 


revelations go so far that after a renewed con- 
sideration of all the factors I no longer think it 
probable that we have to do with some mental 
derangement in Steiner's case. It seems much 
more probable that the principal cause is not 
madness, but merely ideas derived from Mme. 
Blavatsky. The delusion of madness and of 
suggestion cannot be at once distinguished. Both 
have this in common, that the person holding them 
does not hold them for logical reasons and with- 
stands and is unaffected by all arguments to the 
contrary. It is only by tracing them to their 
origin that we can decide definitely whether such 
delusions are due to madness or suggestion. I 
will hazard the conjecture provisionally that 
with anthroposophists the fundamental con- 
ceptions become implanted in the mind during 
states of meditation which are very like hypnotic 
states. That the motive power is suggestion 
seems very clear from the statements of Frohn- 
meyer of the school of Annie Besant, for he 
implies that both definite hypnotic suggestion 
as well as telepathy are employed. It is true 
that he means by this the employment of tele- 
pathic suggestion, and it is unfortunately true 
that of this there are so far very few properly 
recorded observed instances, although it seems 
true that it is a fact and, from the psychological 
standpoint, badly needs closer investigation, 
since it probably makes possible a not incon- 


siderable part (which has so far been ignored), of 
deceptive pseudo-mediumistic performances. The 
fact that in Mrs. Besant's following unquestioning 
mental obedience of the kind demanded by the 
Jesuits is required, makes it doubly probable that 
Steiner found his fundamental conceptions in 
this way. This, of course, does not exclude the 
possibility that he possesses parapsychological gifts, 
either by natural endowment or as the result of 
self-education by way of meditation. But if 
we are to believe that this is true, it is for him to 
furnish us~with proof. 



WE have now concluded our investigation 
of some of the domains of modern 
Occultism. Many may be disillusioned 
who hoped to see the portals of the higher world, 
that of life after death, flung wide before them 
at last. This hope has not been fulfilled. The 
strange, impenetrable wall, which hinders us 
from casting a glimpse into the reality beyond 
the grave, will not permit itself to be opened, 
not even by means of the phenomena of Cross- 
correspondence. It is as though we are deliber- 
ately meant to be kept in the dark with regard 
to what awaits us. There are no proofs whatever 
which force us to the belief that there is any 
spirit responsible for the productions of medium - 
ship other than the spirit of the medium him or 
herself. No matter how high or low the pro- 
ductions of mediumship may be, they must still 
be ascribed to the medium, for the unconscious 
or somnambulistic productions of the mind may 
very well be above or below that of the conscious- 
ness. In the same way, however great may be 
the resemblance between the character of the 



mediumistic reproduction and the character of the 
individual alive or dead portrayed, mere like- 
ness cannot be taken to be a proof of identity. 
We know of no limits to the faculty of impersona- 
tion which some people possess. Lastly, a 
medium's knowledge of facts can never be taken 
as a conclusive proof of the presence of a dead 
person, for the statements made have in the first 
place to be verified, and if verification is possible, 
it is itself a proof that these facts can be ascer- 
tained by other means than the direct memory 
of the dead person. The same, too, applies to 
materializations. Spiritism, therefore, cannot be 
proved by incontrovertible reasons. On the other 
hand, neither can it be disproved by incontro- 
vertible reasons. A conclusion can only be 
arrived at, based on general impressions, which 
will be the more correct the less bias there is 
either of sympathy with or of antipathy to the 
fundamental idea of spiritism. And yet it is 
true that we cannot do otherwise than to see and 
judge of the spiritistic hypothesis by its rela- 
tionship to our general conception of the universe. 
In the absence of conclusive proof, we can neither 
accept nor reject it without inquiry into its 

Although, then, we have to conclude that the 
main metaphysical expectation, which is closely 
connected with occultism, is proved to be 
fundamentally impracticable, the further scien- 


tific results are all the more important. Amid 
the waste matter of vulgar spiritism, most re- 
markable psychic and psychophysic phenomena 
of supernormal character have been discovered. 
We are now on new scientific ground. Many 
things are still veiled in clouds, vague, and only 
recognizable in outline ; others are still com- 
pletely hidden ; others, again, have been 
established with comparative certainty. It is 
no longer an open question whether we have firm 
ground under our feet with regard to these 
problems, or whether all is illusion, deception, 
and fraud. The assertions of eminent investiga- 
tors some among them scientists of world-wide 
renown are too numerous and too decided. 
All 1 who have gone in for a systematic study of 
the phenomena have arrived at a positive con- 
clusion to a greater or less degree. To ignore 
their combined testimony would be but unscien- 
tific, dogmatic prejudice. No other scientific 
attitude is possible than that of taking in hand 
the examination and verification of the results 
already obtained. 

A criticism that goes so far as to refuse to make 
a closer investigation of facts which have been 
asserted, becomes pseudo-criticism, and no longer 
impartial, when the facts have been asserted by 
reliable observers. The attitude of a con- 
siderable number, particularly of the older pro- 

1 Including A. Lehmann, Henning, and Desioir. 


fessors of philosophy and psychology, is strongly 
reminiscent of those Florentine savants who 
denied the astronomical discoveries of Galileo, 
and refused to look through the telescope for 
fear of being convinced. It is crassly untrue to 
assert that all clairvoyants and mediums refuse 
to submit themselves to scientific examination. 
The scientific superficiality and general lack of 
principle, which characterizes some authors when 
it becomes a question of the real facts, is alone 
responsible for such an assertion. Equally super- 
ficial, and probably only due to lack of knowledge 
of the literature upon the subject, is the state- 
ment by Hopp to the effect that science has no 
means of investigating the problem of telepathy, 
but must confine itself to the examination of 
such cases as chance may offer. 

It is a test of the intellectual worth of a 
scientist if he is ready and willing to investigate 
problems which, if true, may open up wide 
issues, or if he retreats with diffidence from all 
that might bring with it in its train a revolutionary- 
change in his existing theories. 

German research has in the first place to 
ascertain what has already been accomplished. 
It is now no longer admissible to regard the 
entire parapsychic problem as terra nova, on 
which no man's foot has stepped yet. 

When Wundt declared that if parapsychology 
were justified there must be two worlds the 


first, that which exists in accordance with the 
laws of Galileo and of classic mechanics ; the 
second, that of the gnomes, rapping spirits and 
magnetic mediums, in which the laws which 
prevail in the first are not in use it must un- 
reservedly be admitted (apart from the language 
in which his idea is clothed) that this " second 
world " lacks that transparent and reliable 
structure which is possessed by organically dead 
nature, taken by itself. This is not only applic- 
able to parapsychic phenomena, but is equally 
true both of normal psychology and of organic 
physiology. Biology, also, is incapable of in- 
dicating in advance the progress of organic 
development. This unreliability is peculiar to 
all non-inorganic parts of reality, and it is very 
doubtful whether it should only be attributed, 
as it usually is, to the complication of the pheno- 
mena. Such an explanation is hardly true of 
mental phenomena, and does not very well 
apply at all to the vital factors. The reason 
really consists in the fact that there is no question 
here of a number of separate entities, and their 
connexion to each other, as in the case of the 
atoms which go to build up the elementary 
entities of the inorganic world. The mechanical 
conception of the universe, on which Wundt 
and all the other Parallelists base their philosophy, 
has been found to be fundamentally false. It is 
necessary to make a clean break with the mechani- 


cal conception, not only for the purposes of theory, 
but also for that of practical investigation, and 
no longer to shut one's eyes to the metapsychical 
complexity of the problems in which we are 

There should soon be no lack of suitable 
mediums with whom to experiment. There are 
many indications that individuals with para- 
psychical constitutions are not so rare as is 
generally imagined, though it may be true that 
they are a little 'scarcer in Germany than among 
the English-speaking and Latin races. On the 
other hand, a whole number of mediumistically 
inclined individuals have been discovered recently. 
It is to be hoped that at least a proportion among 
them those of the greatest value from the point 
of view of the renewal of scientific investigation 
will place themselves at the disposal of a science 
which no longer need assume that it only has to 
do with fraud, and which is ready to investigate 
on critically objective lines. It is for this reason 
that I insist on the need for further investigation. 
One of these mediums, on whom v. Wasielewski 
and Tischner have made their chief experiments, 
does not even appear to base her work on the 
spiritistic theory, so that the tests in her case 
could be carried out in entire freedom from the 
spiritistic atmosphere. 

It is greatly to be desired that we may soon 
have the luck to get physical mediums to place 


themselves at our disposal in the earlier stages 
of their development, so that they may be with- 
drawn from the influences of spiritism. It 
might then, perhaps, be possible to obtain 
parapsychic and paraphysical phenomena in a 
form which does not clothe itself in the spiritistic 
garb, and is thus divested of the distasteful 
atmosphere which surrounds such phenomena 
at present. The possibility exists, however, that 
the further development of these phenomena 
may be dependent on the necessity for the very 
favourable auto-suggestive influences which 
emanate from the spiritistic beliefs of the 
mediums. If this be, indeed, the case, we 
must needs resign ourselves to the acceptance 
of parapsychic manifestations in this strange 

A serious difficulty in investigation is the 
aversion manifested in spiritistic circles to scien- 
tific research. This circumstance is not only due 
to the indifferent and uninterested attitude 
hitherto adopted by science in Germany with 
reference to parapsychological problems, but is 
also caused by an instinctive fear that a closer 
investigation might prove the claims of the 
spiritistic interpretation to be unfounded. 
Mundus vult decipi. In the summer of 1919, one 
of my audience in Tubingen informed me of a 
writing medium who seemingly appeared to be 
capable of quite interesting phenomena, and he 


promised to put me into touch with this person 
a servant girl. His uncle, however, with whom 
the girl was in service, declined to allow a scien- 
tific investigation. I was not even permitted 
to obtain a glimpse of the voluminous automatic 
writings. Nothing could show more strongly 
how necessary it is that the medium's scientific 
interest should be trained, or that the mediumistic 
faculties of persons who have some scientific 
interest should be developed. 

The proper 'attitude towards the spiritistic 
hypothesis can only be that of critical examina- 
tion. It is clear that this theory can only be 
regarded as proved when all the probabilities 
attendant on it are also proved. On the other 
hand, a refusal to associate with persons who 
accept the theory might lead to the exclusion 
of such investigators as Myers and James. The 
fact by itself, that anyone accepts the spiritistic 
theory must not however unsympathetic it may 
be to us lead us to condemn that person generally 
as unreliable so far as he is not shown to be guilty 
of unreliability by his manner of dealing with 
mere facts. This point of view should lead us 
to a modus vivendi with supporters of spiritism 
in Germany, just as a modus vivendi already 
exists in England. 

|. A more minute analysis of parapsychic pheno- 
mena is the great need. To accomplish this the 
analytical methods of normal psychology must 



be invoked in full measure. The number of 
fundamental psychological conceptions which the 
parapsychologists have hitherto used is far too 
small. I miss, above all, the distinction between 
acts of representation and acts of thought ; 
to say nothing of the omission of the analysis of 
parapsychic acts of thought. How, for instance, 
does a medium distinguish psychometric or 
telepathic thoughts from his " own " normal 
ideas ? Or does he not make any distinction ? 
Neither do the reports show clearly as a general 
rule whether the visions of the mediums, with 
which we are dealing, are, in their nature, 
hallucinations or only representations. In short, 
analysis is still in its infancy. What is really 
required is Parapsychologic Experiments com- 
bined with introspection. In all cases where 
parapsychic phenomena occur without the more 
profound trance conditions, this cannot offer 
very great difficulties. Tests must also be made 
with mediums in a state resembling hypnotic 
trance. Attempts must be made, where possible, 
to persuade them to practise introspection, and 
they must be trained in it. Above all, Vogt's 
method of artificially narrowing the consciousness 
must be applied, in order to obtain the greatest 
number of statements based on retrospection. 
In short, all possible means must be employed. 
In parapsychology, all efforts must increas- 
ingly be centred on the attainment of greater 


objectivity in methods. The ideal would be to 
register mechanically the phenomena throughout 
their whole development, so that subsequent 
study in complete leisure might be possible. 
Too often the outward conditions in which the 
sittings take place make observation very 

In this way only will the sceptic be convinced 
and compelled to accept the objective proofs 
afforded by photography and the registering 
apparatus. The extensive use which Schrenck- 
Notzing made of photography, the several 
exposures taken from different angles at once, 
and the use of stereoscopy mark a considerable 
advance in methods. But it would be desirable 
to have more cinematographic exposures. A 
complete cinematographic record of the sittings 
would have the advantage of determining later 
what had or had not taken place. 1 We should 
often like to know a good deal that an author does 
not tell us in so many words, though undoubtedly, 
he might have done so. For instance, A. 
Lehmann when referring to the experiments of 
Zoellner, asks with regard to the cords used 
during the sitting, whether Slade had had no 
opportunity of annexing one of them. Only an 
uninterrupted cinematographic film taken of 
the medium to include even the time outside the 

1 This could best be determined by means of stereoscopic 
cinematography. An apparatus of that kind should not be hard 
to construct. 


sittings themselves could ensure a definite answer 
though this is, of course, impracticable by 
reason of the expense. 

Photography with ordinary light is, unfortu- 
nately, of no avail, when, as in the case of Eusapia, 
the medium forbids the use of it, or when light 
impedes or destroys the mediumistic phenomena. 
In the future, therefore, it would be advisable to 
take photographs with invisible ultra-violet 
lights ; though it is, of course, impossible to 
predict whether the mediumistic phenomena 
will be able to stand these rays. The attempt, 
however, should be made. Attempts should 
also be made to keep the limbs of the medium 
under constant control, by means of numerous 
stereoscopic X-ray exposures. Should, however, 
it be found that all these rays act destructively 
on the mediumistic phenomena, it will be im- 
possible in many cases to prove the objective 
existence of the phenomena with the present 
means at our disposal. We should then have 
definitely to content ourselves with the reports 
of witnesses based on the observations made 
during the sittings by the ordinary five senses. 

We cannot eliminate altogether the importance 
of the question of the good faith of the person 
who makes the experiments. We must accept 
his word that the photographic exposures were 
in order; that the instruments were properly 
installed, and that the data on the registering 


apparatus tally with the curves published and have 
not been faked, etc. 

A most interesting connexion exists between 
the supernormal phenomena and the spiritual 
worth taken on the whole of the life of a 
given individual. Many cases have been cited 
in both the Indian and Christian history of 
religion which, if true, would tend to prove 
that once a certain height of spiritual develop- 
ment is reached, parapsychic and paraphysio- 
logical phenomena are bound to follow as a matter 
of course. The biographies of the Indian and 
Christian saints are full of such happenings ; 
they are recorded also of Christ and his Apostles 
in the New Testament ; and the Catholic 
Church in consequence make canonization abso- 
lutely dependent on the testimony that such 
" miracles " have actually taken place. We are 
not yet in the position to be able to take a satis- 
factorily reasoned position on the question of the 
reality of these miracles. The whole question 
is closely interwoven with the other namely 
to what extent parapsychic phenomena are 
determined by the mode of life of the individual 
concerned. With regard to the outstanding 
mediums of modern occultism, such as Helene 
Smith, Mrs. Piper, Eusapia Palladino, etc., it is 
impossible to establish any superiority of mind 
which would confer on them a reputation for 
" saintliness." But we must not lose sight of 


the fact that in the case of these mediums we are 
concerned with individuals who were born so to 
speak, with a parapsychically endowed personality. 

The question of the connexion between para- 
psychic faculties and the mode of life of an 
individual, can only at the present time be 
solved in India, for modern Europe relegates 
ascetic " saints " to the confines of monastery 
or convent, where they are beyond the reach of 
scientific investigation. 1 

The consideration of the Indian sphere is of 
further urgent necessity because of the many 
reports with regard to the manifestations of the 
mediums of that country. Unfortunately these 
reports so far have no claim to be considered as 
other than the usual travellers' tales, and, there- 
fore, are not of sufficient value to be used as 
material for psychology. Further, it is not at 
all easy to get copies of them, and as they are 
mostly compiled in the English language, they 
mostly cannot be found at all in German 
libraries. Despite the urgent necessity we are 
still without any really scientific investigation 
of the Indian ascetics, fakirs, and other abnormal 
personalities. It is hard to understand, and 
regrettable in the extreme, that the Society for 
Psychical Research, which seems to have a special 
call to take the lead in this direction, has not yet 

1 Although even to-day, supernormal manifeitations have been 
aicribcd to them there. 


made any effort to do so. It is obvious that the 
expenses entailed by a psychological expedition 
of such description would be considerable, but 
even so, much less than those of any other ex- 
pedition, even on a modest scale, connected with 
natural science. It is no less astonishing that 
Indian doctors have not yet devoted themselves 
to the study of these problems. As universities 
exist in India, we might naturally have expected 
them to do so. Or can it be that such investiga- 
tions lie hidden in Indian periodicals ? It must 
not be forgotten that all such investigators are, 
in the first instance, bound to meet with serious 
obstacles in getting into touch with the persons 
concerned. The reports of travellers often record 
the distrust and reserve evinced by such persons 
in the presence of Europeans, and their violent 
opposition to any prying into their secrets. 
Should these obstacles prove unsurmountable, 
it would be as well if the work were undertaken 
by natives who have had the benefit of a European 
education, and it would appear that there is no 
time to be lost in this respect. There is no 
doubt that the progress of European civilization 
on the one hand, and the growth of the Young 
India propaganda on the other, must needs 
diminish these manifestations to an ever greater 
degree, and make them of ever rarer occurrence. 
It gives one food for reflection when one learns 
that Pierre Loti, who travelled to India in order 


to study the occult and theosophical under- 
world and its secrets on the spot, returned to 
Europe with his object unachieved, and without 
having made any discovery of importance. But 
despite this, it is not possible to doubt the 
existence of mediums and occult circles in India, 
well worthy of study by philosopher and psycholo- 
gist. Certain psychic happenings, which merit 
investigation, can surely be found in the circles 
of Mrs. Annie Besant's " Theosophical Society/' 
Some isolated cases of minor significance, such as 
those of the professional beggars who keep an 
arm continuously outstretched before them, or 
who spend their nights on a bed of thorns or 
prickles, appear to be of daily and common 
occurrence. And yet all closer examination of 
their psychic and physical condition is lacking, 
despite all the interest it would represent. We 
have no opportunity in Europe for the study of 
such types. 

As can be seen, the field of parapsychological 
problems is of the widest magnitude and im- 
portance. We are treating of discoveries which 
are of equal value to the greatest discoveries of 
the day in the domain of the natural science. 

As a supplement to this book, I have submitted 
some of the principal ideas with which we are 
here concerned to closer analysis in an essay, 
entitled, " Grundbegriffe der Parapsychogie " 


(Fundamental conceptions of Parapsychology), 
Pfullingen, Baums Verlag, 1921. There is some 
danger of this essay being overlooked because of 
the rather remote place of its publication, and 
I think it worth while therefore to refer to it 
here. It is not a mere repetition of the present 
book, but both book and essay are complementary 
to each other. I have tried in the book to call 
attention to the reality of parapsychical pheno- 
mena and in the essay to analyze critically the 
resulting new conceptions. 


A FEW of the more important publications 
on the subject are mentioned in this 
Appendix for the information of those 

The most valuable material since 1882 is con- 
tained in the " Proceedings of the Society for 
Psychical Research/' London a periodical which 
in Germany can only be obtained in the State 
Libraries of Berlin and Munich. This Society 
also publishes another journal, for circulation 
among its subscribers, which does not appear 
to be available for the general public. These 
publications must not be confused with the 
" Proceedings of the American Society for 
Psychical Research/' which cannot be found in 
any German Library, and which, despite all 
efforts on my part, I have not been able to 

F. W. Myers contributed valuable information 
from data which appeared in the " Proceedings 
for Psychical Research " up to 1905, in two 
volumes, published after his death, in London, 
1907: "The Human Personality and its 
Survival after Death." The French transla- 
tion, however, only comprises Myers' own text, 



leaving out all data from which the book emanates. 
So far as I know, this volume is not available at 
any large German Library. I have had the use 
of the copy belonging to the Neurobiological 
Institute of Berlin University. The author's 
theoretical point of view is that of spiritualism. 

A French publication which may be compared 
to that of the " Proceedings " is the " Annales 
des Sciences Psychiques," edited by Richet. 
The German " Psychischen Studien " (1920, 
47th year) cannot be compared to the above, 
as apart from some serious articles, so much that 
is worthless has been published in it. The 
occasional valuable contributions which it con- 
tains are swamped by this rubbish. This 
periodical must either be relieved in the future 
of this worthless ballast, or a purely scientific 
journal should be founded to take its place. This 
might be the "Journal fur Psychologic und 
Neurologic " (the continuation of the Journal 
of Hypnotism : " Zeitschrift fur Hypnotismus "), 
of which a considerable portion would have to 
be ear-marked for this purpose. 

For Chapter /.The book, " Des Indes k la 
Plante Mars: Etudes sur un cas de somnam- 
bulisme avec glossolalie," Geneva, 1900, 4th ed. 
1909; first appeared after Th. Flournoy's in- 
vestigations on Helene Smith. A second part 
followed later, entitled, " Nouvelles Observa- 
tions sur un cas de Somnambulisms avec 


solalie," in Archives de Psychologic, Vol. I, 
December, 1901 separately published at Geneva 
1902. A German translation of the first book, 
with extracts from the second publication, 
appeared under the title " Die Seherin von 
Genf" (The Seer of Geneva), Leipzig, 1914. 
Second Edition, 1921, under the title, " Spiritism 
and Experimental Psychology." 

For Chapter IL A criticism of the investiga- 
tions on Mrs. Piper is contained in a volume by 
Mrs. Henry Sidgwick, entitled, " A Contribution 
to the Study of the Psychology of Mrs. Piper's 
Trance Phenomena," in the Proceedings of the 
S.P.R., Vol. 28, 1915. The following are also 
of special value : 

R. Hodgson, " A Record of Observations of 
Certain Phenomena of Trance," Vol. 8 (1892). 
"A Further Record," etc., Vol. 13 (1898). 

W. James, "A Record of Observations of 
Certain Phenomena of Trance," Part III, in 
Vol. 6(1890). 

W. James, " Report on Mrs. Piper's Hodgson 
Control," Vol. 23 (1909). 

A useful insight into circumstances connected 
with Mrs. Piper is given in the little German 
book of M. Sage, " Die Mediumschaft der Frau 
Piper" ("The Mediumism of Mrs. Piper"), 
Leipzig, 1903. If a new edition of this book is 
brought out, it would be necessary to include the 
results of the medium's later development. It 


seems that we have now in Germany a medium 
like Mrs. Piper, who has been discovered and 
described by Dr. Joseph Bohm, of Nuremberg, in 
a "Collection of Essays," Pfullingen, 1921. 

For Chapter III. A whole series of articles 
have appeared in the S.P.R. since 1908, in con- 
nexion with the Cross-Correspondence. Alice 
Johnson (First Report) on "The Automatic writing 
of Mrs. Holland/' in Vol. 21 (1909) ; Alice Johnson 
(Second Report), etc., in Vol. 24(1910); and 
Third Report,' etc. (Alice Johnson), in Vol. 25 

J. G. Piddington, " Three Incidents from the 
Sittings " (Fragment from the Report compiled 
by several authors : " Further Experiments with 
Mrs. Piper in 1918"), in Vol. 24 (1910). 

For Chapters IV and P.W. Crookes, " Der 
Spiritualismus und die Wissenschaft " (Experi- 
mental Investigations on Psychic Force), Ger- 
man 2nd Edition, Leipzig ; also " Notes on 
Seances with D. D. Home," by W. Crookes. 
Proceedings of S.P.R., Vol. 6, 1889. Carl 
Friedr. Zoellner, " Wissenschaftliche Abhand- 
lungen," Vol. 1-3, Leipzig, 1878-79 (Experiments 
with Slade). Fritz Grunewald, " t)ber eine 
Wiederholung des Wageversuches von Crookes," 
in "Psychische Studien," 1920, Books 4, 5, 8. 

After the proofs had been passed I received 
valuable additional information which was con- 
tained in articles of Grunewald, " Physical- 


Mediumistic Investigations," Pfullingen, 1920* 
which afford a closer insight into the modern 
technique for the examination of physical 

The most comprehensive volume on Eusapia 
Palladino is that by Enrico Morselli, entitled, 
" Psicologia e Spiritismo : Impressioni e note 
critiche sui fenomeni medianici di Eusapia 
Palladino," in two Vols., Turin, 1908 (with a 
bibliography of the entire literature written round 
Eusapia). The investigations of* Botazzi were 
published in the " Annales des Sciences Psychi- 
ques," of which an extract appeared in German 
under the title of " The Scientific Investiga- 
tions of the Phenomena of Eusapia at Naples 
University," by Joseph Peter, Leipzig, 1918. 
The report on the investigations in Paris is 
compiled by Jules Courtier : Rapport sur les 
Seances d'Eusapia Palladino a Hnstitut General 
Psychologique en 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918; 
Bulletin de 1'Institut General Psychologique, 
VIII annee, Nr. 5-6, Nov., Dec., 1918. The 
periodical in question has long been available 
at the Neurobiological Institute of Berlin Univer- 
sity, and is now obtainable in the State Library 
in Munich also. The official accounts of the 
investigations undertaken by the Committee of 
the Society for Psychical Research, are by : E. 
Feilding, W. W. Baggally, and H. Carrington, 
Report on a series of Sittings with Eusapia 


Palladino, in the Proceedings, Vol. 23 (1909) ; 
E, Feilding, W. Marriott, Count Perovsky- 
Petrovo-Solovovo, Alice Johnson, W. W. Bag- 
gaily, Report on a further series of Sittings with 
Eusapia at Naples, in the Proceedings, Vol. 25 
(1911). Camille Flammarion, " Les Forces 
Naturelles Inconnues," Paris, 1907. There have 
also been a few observations on Slade and Eusapia 
Palladino by Max Dessoir, " Vom Jenseits der 
Seele," Stuttgart, 1917, 3rd Edition, 1920. 

For Chapter V. Works on Eva C. " Pheno- 
mena of Materialization," a Report on the in- 
vestigations of mediumistic teleplasma, Munich, 
1914 ; " The Controversy about the Phenomena of 
Materialization," 1914. " Sittings with Eva C.," 
in May and June, 1914 ; " Psychischen Studien," 
Vol. 41, 1914 all by A. Freiherr von Schrenck- 
Notzing. His book on the phenomena of ma- 
terialization has now been published in English, 
under the title, " Phenomena of Materializa- 
tion, a Contribution to the Investigation of 
Mediumistic Teleplasma," translated by E. E. 
Fournier d'Albe, London, 1920. This English 
edition is considerably more complete than the 
German original. The author enlarges in detail 
on the attacks made on him since his book was 
published, particularly with regard to the 
rumination hypothesis. Furthermore, the ac- 
counts of the case of Eva C. have been supple- 
mented by reports from other investigators 


down to the time of writing. The number of 
illustrations, too, have been increased from 180 
to 225, among which a few photographs of 
materializations are included and the result of 
Schrenck-Notzing's observations of an Austrian 
boy on the borders of Bavaria (a case which will 
surely be of great significance, as the author is 
at present engaged in its close investigation). 
" Les Phenomenes dits de Materialization," 
Etude experimentale, by Juliette Bisson, Paris, 
1914; and "So-called Supernormal Physiology 
and the Phenomena of Ideoplasma " (German), 
Leipzig, 1920 (also "Psychischen Studien," May, 

A. Freiherr von Schrenck-Notzing's, " Physical 
Phenomena of Mediumism," " Studies on the 
Investigation of the Processes of Telekinesis," 
Munich, refer in the first instance to the 
processes of Telekinesis, as does W. J. Crawford in 
his books, " The Reality of Psychic Phenomena " 
(Raps, Levitation, etc.), 2nd Edition, London, 
1919, and " Experiments in Psychical Science 
(Levitation, Contact and the Direct Voice), 
London, 1919, and "The Psychic Structures 
at the Goligher Circle," London, 1921, a highly 
interesting volume with numerous illustrations. 
[In W. Fournier d'Albe's book, " The Goligher 
Circle" (Watkins, London), the author concludes 
against genuineness Editor.] A summary, by 
Schrenck-Notzing, of the twenty-six articles by 


J. Ochorowicz, which were published in the 
" Annales des Sciences Psychiques " (vide 1st 
ref.), is useful also for its account of Crawford's 

A few other recent investigations compiled in 
the German language with regard to other 
mediums are : 

" Experimental Investigations in the Domain 
of Clairvoyance a Distance," by A. N. Chowrin 
(German), Munich, 1919. " On a Case of 
Voluntary Clairvoyance," by W. V. Wasielewski, 
contained in the " Annals of Natural Philosophy," 
Vol. ii (1913) ; also reprinted in "The Super- 
natural World," 24th year, 1916, No. 5. And 
" Telepathy and Clairvoyance : Experiments 
and Observations on unusual Psychic Faculties," 
also by W. V. Wasielewski. 

" On Telepathy and Clairvoyance : Experi- 
mental-theoretic Investigations," by Rudolf 
Tischner, Munich, 1920. 

" Fundamental Conceptions of Parapsycho- 
logy," Study on Philosophy, by T. K. Oesterreich, 
Pfullingen, 1920. 

Alfred Lehmann's " Superstition and Witch- 
craft from Ancient Times Until To-day," which 
has been twice revised, and the enlarged edition 
of which was published in a German translation 
with references in Stuttgart, 1908, is most com- 
prehensive, historically speaking, and instructive 
in a general sense. The biased point of view of 


the author has, however, since been superseded. 
His estimate of what is real must be much enlarged. 

The theory of spiritism must still be looked 
for in the classic work on the subject, " Le Livre 
des Mediums," by Allan Kardec, which has 
appeared in very many editions. The first 
German translation was published under the 
title, "The Book of Mediums," 4th Edition, 
Leipzig, 1907. Carl du Prels is best informed 
on the subject so far as German literature is 
concerned, and his books, " The Riddle of Man- 
kind," and " Spiritism," were published in the 
Reklams Universalbibliotek. 

Amidst all that I have read in books and in 
innumerable communications sent to me from 
literature which is hard to obtain, A. N. Aksakow's 
chief work, " Animismus und Spiritismus," re- 
mains the most valuable. It is an attempt to 
test critically mediumistic phenomena with par- 
ticular reference to the hypothesis of hallucina- 
tion and the unconscious mind (2 Vols., 5th 
Edition, Leipzig, 1919). This book was written 
as a counter-volume to E. V. Hartmann's book, 
"Spiritualism," Berlin, 1885, which claimed to 
relegate all mediumistic phenomena in so far 
as they are authentic to the domain of telepathy 
and clairvoyance. In contradiction to this 
theory, Aksakow attempts to prove that^ the 
spiritualistic interpretation is the right one. 
Karl Kiesewetter's "History of the Newer 


Occultism," 2nd Enlarged Edition, Leipzig, 
1909, is no less valuable. The author had 
received many personal communications from 
Fechner Weber, etc. 

Among the mass of spiritualistic literature, I 
would cite as examples the following volumes : 
" My Experiences in the Realm of Spirit- 
ualism," 2nd Edition, Leipzig, 1919, by M. 
Seiling, " The Mediumship of Mme. Elizabeth 
von Pribytkoff," by W. v. Pribytkoff (German), 
Leipzig, 1903. " What I Have Seen," by M. T. 
Falkomer ; my own investigations in the bright 
fields of the lesser-known human faculties (Ger- 
man), Leipzig, 1901. 

A new book, which has had a wide circulation 
in England, was published during the war by the 
physicist, Sir Oliver Lodge, whose spiritualistic 
tendencies are well known. The book is en- 
titled, " Raymond, or Life and Death," London, 
1916, and is mainly concerned with the automatic 
writings which, according to the author's con- 
viction, emanate from his son Raymond, an 
English officer, who was killed in action, > 

" The Evidence for Communication with the 
Dead," by Mrs. Anna Hude, London, 1913, is 
of value by reason of its numerous references to 
the more recent English investigations. The 
book itself is entirely based on the results attained 
by the mediums, Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, 
and Mrs. Piper. 


The Autobiography of the medium, Mrs. 
d'Esperance, is entitled "In the Realm of 
Shadows " (German), Berlin, 1892. 

Finally, W. James' last word in regard in 
Parapsychology must be included : " Final 
Impressions of a Psychical Researcher," in 
" Memories and Studies," London, 1911 (former- 
ly published in "The American Magazine," 
October, 1909, under the title, "Confidences 
of a Psychical Researcher." 

Chapter VI. The innumerable writings of 
Mme. Blavatsky, Mrs. Annie Besant, as well as 
Leadbeater, have all appeared in German 
(Leipzig, Theosophisches Verlaghaus. The 
voluminous works of Mme. Blavatsky, entitled, 
"The Secret Teaching" (3 Vols.), and the 
" Veiled Isis " (2 Vols.), form the basis for all 
subsequent Theosophy, in so far as it is not to be 
ascribed to older Indian teachings. We would 
mention A. Besant's " Change in the World " 
(1910), and " The Inner Life," by Leadbeater 
(2 Vols., 1910), as examples. The report on 
Mme. Blavatsky, by Hodgson, after his investiga- 
tions in India, is published in the Proceedings of 
the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 3, 

A good insight into R. Steiner's thought is 
obtained by the perusal of his " Theosophie," 
" How does one Obtain Cognition of the Higher 
Spheres \ " " Secret Science in Outline " (til 


published in Berlin, Philosophisch-Antroposo- 
phischer Verlag). 

Fr. Rittelmeyer's " The Life Work of Rudolf 
Steiner," Munich, 1921, gives a survey of Steiner's 

A good description of the whole development 
of modern Theosophy is to be found in L. 
Johannes Frohmeyer's book on the Theosophical 
movement, Stuttgart, 1920. 

In conclusion, I may refer to R. Schmidt's 
" Fakirs," Berlin, 1908. 

" The report of the Committee of the Society 
for Psychical Research will be found in its 
** Proceedings," Vol. 32, January, 1922. A very 
acute criticism of this report, by Dr. G. Geley, 
was published in the " Revue Metapsychique," 
1922, No. 2 (Paris). 

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